Pause

This week we consider sources of happiness.

To prepare, stop the world around you.

Breathe, be still, and feel God’s presence.

Invite God’s calm.

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Listen

“But how terrible for you who are rich, because you have already received your comfort.

How terrible for you who have plenty now, because you will be hungry.

How terrible for you who laugh now, because you will mourn and weep.

How terrible for you when all speak well of you. Their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.”

Luke 6:24-26

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Think

What are the real wants and desires of your heart? Do they relate to self or others? The world blares “self” at every turn. Television commercials tell us to want more, to never be satisfied. Messages on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram idealize well-fed, happy, and achieving lives.

In comparison, today’s scripture is jarring. We’re told that the headlong pursuit of wealth, excess, a carefree existence, and adoration result in fleeting rewards at best. Let's face it, Jesus’ message calls us to recalibrate our priorities – to worry less about “having” or being special. This isn’t a message I want to hear. It’s like seeing that engine light flashing on my car’s dashboard, I’d rather ignore it, but… Both as individuals and as a larger society, it’s time for a tune-up, for a careful reconsideration of life’s priorities.

Painful reflection can lead to promising new personal directions. Why not reflect a bit today?

Bill Ogletree

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Pray

God, help me to be happy when I have more than enough. Help me respond to the needs of others. Amen.

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Go

The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, wrote:

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” (in Love and Living, 1965)

Go now and find happiness and God’s love in the community of others.

Bill Ogletree

Billy T. Ogletree is a professor at Western Carolina University. He is forever grateful for the love of his wife and two adult children and appreciates little more than living in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Dr. Ogletree is the author of the 2018 book Mean Christianity: Finding Our Way Back to Christ’s Likeness, available through Wipf and Stock, Amazon, Kindle, and Audible.

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