Tuesday, 17 August 2021
Title: Pursuit Of Happiness
By: Shaun Ling
Text: Philippians 4:12

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

What really makes one happy?

Ironically, I will start with a sad story. My ex-neighbour was seemingly the epitome of a wonderful marriage – husband and wife in stable jobs, with 3 young and very smart kids. What disguises the happy façade was laid bare one day when the wife told me and my brother that her marriage was falling apart. He was seeing another woman and was contemplating shifting out that very night. I could not really remember much about the conversation except that she’d said something that struck a chord with me. She recounted that when she and her husband were poor and could not make ends meet, they were far happier but when wealth and opportunity came around especially for her husband, things went awry.

Is true happiness achievable or is it, in fact elusive? As I reflect on this, I am inclined to the latter.

Advertisements promise that a Rolex will get me instant status, a no-effort diet will transform my life, and an endless supply of Netflix, Disney Hotstar and the like will give me smiles and happiness. But soon enough, when the pleasures of all these are set aside, we return to the real world of cranky neighbours, a house that’s falling apart and broken relationships. Thus, true happiness must be rooted in reality.

And then it hits me! Real happiness involves struggle and pain. As Augustine once said, “Everywhere a greater joy is preceded by a greater suffering”. Much like someone who has an itch and to finally get away from friends and go to a hiding place where he can scratch to his heart’s content. Or someone who lived in a desert yearning for rain, how sweet it is to have rain fall on their bare skin. Or for me, to finish my first full marathon, the anguish of the hours of tiredness and pain was immediately replaced with unbridled joy at the sight of the finish line and the cheap medal that I will cherish forever.

To experience happiness, we need to experience pain whether in ourselves or in people we care about. There are good and bad days but when we see the results of our perseverance, a sense of pride and joy wells up within us.

Which reminds me of Phil 4:11-13, a statement from a prisoner writing from his prison cell, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Happiness can indeed emanate from a sense of contentment. And this can be cultivated (but it may take a long time) and most importantly, is within our control. The assurance of God’s presence and being in our lives, despite our circumstances. Just as Paul has a purpose to bring meaning in the life of others by preaching Christ, we too can find our purpose where God calls us however insignificant it may be. Perhaps we are called to serve others. Maybe we are called to be encouragers. Many have the gift of giving. Others would quietly serve by doing menial tasks.

The pursuit of happiness may well be found when we are content in God’s purpose in our lives.

Prayer: Father, You have brought us to being that we may enjoy You in our finite and short lives. Help us Lord to appreciate that we live for You and pursue happiness that has its foundation in You and You alone. Help us to be grateful for what You have given us and that we can learn to continually align our attitude to Yours. Amen

班底浸信教会
每日灵粮
星期二, 2021年8月17日
标题:追求幸福
作者:林世勋执事
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹
经文:腓立比书4:12

“我知道怎样处卑贱,也知道怎样处丰富;或饱足,或饥饿;或有余,或缺乏,随事随在,我都得了秘诀。”

真正让人幸福的是什么?

讽刺地,我将从一个不幸的故事开始。我的前邻居看似是一段美满婚姻的缩影 – 丈夫和妻子有稳定的工作,有3个年幼并且非常聪明的孩子。有一天,当那位妻子告诉我和弟弟她的婚姻即将破裂时,隐藏在幸福外表下的东西被揭露了。她的丈夫与另一个女人幽会并打算当天晚上搬出去。我不太记得那次谈话的内容了,只记得她说了一些触动我的心的话。她回忆说,当她和丈夫贫穷并入不敷出时,他们幸福得多,但是当财富和机会到来时,特别是对她的丈夫来说,事情就出现问题了。

真正的幸福是可以实现的,还是难以捉摸的?当我思考这一点时,我倾向于后者。

广告承诺,劳力士(Rolex)会立即提升我的地位、不费力的节食会改变我的生活,而奈飞(Netflix)、迪士尼星空(Disney Hotstar)等无穷无尽的产品会给我带来微笑和欢乐。但很快地,当这些乐趣都被搁置一边时,我们又回到了真实世界,脾气暴躁的邻居、一所快塌了的房子,以及破裂的关系。所以,真正的幸福必须植根在现实里。

突然间,我明白了!真正的幸福包括奋斗和痛苦。正如奥古斯丁曾说:“在任何地方,极大的欢乐之前都先有极大的痛苦”。就像一个人感到瘙痒时,终于摆脱了朋友们,去一个让他可以尽情挠抓的地方;或者是一个住在沙漠渴望雨水的人,雨点落在他们裸露的皮肤上是多么的愉快。或者,对我来说,完成了我的第一个全程马拉松,数小时的疲惫和痛苦立即被看到终点线时的狂喜和我永远珍惜的廉价奖牌所取代。

要体验幸福,我们需要经历痛苦,无论是在我们自己身上或者在我们关心的人身上。日子有好也有坏的时候,但是当我们看到自己坚持不解的成果时,自豪感和幸福感会油然而生。

这让我想起了腓立比书4:11-13,一名囚犯在牢房里写道:“我并不是因缺乏说这话;我无论在什么景况,都可以知足,这是我已经学会了。我知道怎样处卑贱,也知道怎样处丰富;或饱足,或饥饿;或有余,或缺乏,随事随在,我都得了秘诀。我靠着那加给我力量的,凡事都能做。”

幸福感确实可以源自满足感。这是可以培养的(但可能需要很长时间),最重要的是,它在我们的控制范围之内。不管我们的处境如何,在我们的生活中有上帝同在的确据。正如保罗传扬基督的目的是要带给其他人有生活的意义一样,我们也可以在上帝呼召我们的地方找到我们的目的,无论它是多么微不足道。也许我们被召唤去服侍他人,也许我们被呼召去做鼓励者;许多人都有给予的恩赐。其他的人则通过做琐碎的任务默默地服侍。

当我们满足于上帝在我们生命中的旨意时,我们就很可能会找到所追求的幸福。

祷告:父啊,祢使我们存活在世上,是为了让我们在有限而短暂的生命中享受祢的同在。求主帮助我们领悟到,我们为祢而活,并追求以祢和祢为唯一根基的幸福。帮助我们懂得为祢所给予我们的一切而感恩,使我们能学习不断地与您保持一致的态度。阿们。