Dear God, I read Fred Smith’s blog post this morning called “To Be Known.” It is the story of a wealthy man, David Gundlach, who never seemed to find an identity during his life that brought him peace and joy.
Playing off of my prayer from yesterday, Fred described Mr. Gundlach as wanting to be known, but I think I see it as wanting to have meaning. Who am I? Why am I here? The answer can take any number of forms, but the “pursuit of happiness” baked into our U.S. Constitution might actually be part of the problem. It’s in our American DNA to think that “happiness” is something to be pursued, but I can’t think of any Bible stories that affirm that perspective. Jesus doesn’t call us to pursue happiness. Peter didn’t. Paul didn’t. John didn’t. The prophets in the Old Testament didn’t. You get my point. No, my life is all about loving you with everything I’ve got and then loving my neighbor as myself. When I do those two things then the the fruits of your Spirit start to grow in and out of me: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, self control, etc. If Mr. Gundlach had followed those two great commandments instead of pursuing happiness, then his life would have been completely different. Maybe he wouldn’t have made all of that money after all, but he might have found the joy he was seeking.
Father, whether it’s “meaning” or “happiness,” it’s always important for me to remember that neither can be found without you. In fact, I’m reminded of what Gary Thomas said at the Sacred Marriage seminar I attended in January (paraphrasing): “People pursue happiness through any number of efforts to make themselves feel good in the moment, but the only way to real happiness is to pursue holiness.” My your holiness be my goal today.
I pray this in the name of my Triune God,