Now that we’ve moved to Idaho, Wendy and I are really starting to miss our house church family back in Orange County, California.
Here’s one of my favorite memories from our time together with those wonderful people:
One Sunday, after our house church gathering in the morning, we shared a potluck lunch together. These were always pretty amazing, on both the food and fellowship scale.
On that particular afternoon, our conversation started to drift into an exploration of “What Makes Us Happy?”
Most assume that what makes us happiest is money or fame. But there have been plenty of academic studies which disprove that theory. In fact, I had just recently written a blog for my employer at the time about this topic, and so I got to bring that up in our conversation with the house church family.
So, if money and fame and wealth don’t make us happy, what does?
Well, it turns out, Jesus was right when he told us not to worry about tomorrow. This includes worrying about what we will wear or what we will eat, etc. Instead, Jesus urges us to seek first the Kingdom of God and focus our energy on things like, serving others, making people around us happier and being thankful [or content] with what we have today.
By the way: That’s exactly what all the studies say makes us happy, too.
Wealth and fame do not pull happiness in their wake. Actually, it’s being content and serving others that tends to pull success and happiness behind them.
Later that same week, several of my co-workers also began to share more about the blog I wrote about happiness and we also affirmed this principle of being thankful and how it connects to being happy.
Then, as I was leaving lunch to go back to work, I saw an email from one of our dear sisters in our house church family. She wasn’t able to join us the other day for our conversation about what makes us happy, but she had read about it on our house church page online and sent us all this note:
Missed y’all a lot yesterday but was blessed to hear how the conversation went over lunch. It’s rad how God puts similar things on the hearts of his people… in my prayers, the word “gratitude” has kept coming up and I felt the Lord nudging me to take it more seriously and put it into a concrete discipline.
Basically all I’m doing is recording something I’m thankful for every hour. It may seem silly and at times the thing I write down are kinda silly but it’s actually become something that I look forward to every new hour and a really good reminder of God’s relentless love and provision.
Here’s yesterday’s list:
5am- a place to call home
6am-family to drink coffee with
7am- transportation through the sky
8am- best friends
9am- unique personalities
10am- the privilege of worshipping
11am- languages of all kinds
12pm- the opportunity to travel
1pm- deep relationships
3pm- food on the table
4pm- protection from the weather5pm- a job where I can love people
6pm- chocolate covered items
7pm- good and Godly mentors
8pm- human diversity
9pm- good tunes
10pm- time to rest
If any of you wanna join me in this, I think it’d be fun to do together. “
How awesome is that? Imagine being thankful every single hour of the day!
Isn’t that what we should be doing as followers of Jesus anyway?
Just to close the loop, I forwarded that same email to one of my co-workers as an example of how this practice of being thankful and being happy was being practiced by people in our house church.
His response was this: “That’s pretty cool. Did you hear the quote that says, ‘If you ever meet God and the only thing you ever said to Him was ‘Thank you’, that would be enough’?”
I thanked him for sharing that quote and told him that I agreed. “What more is there to say?”
Isn’t that cool?
My challenge to you is: Could you do this for a week?
Try it! Just make a list of what you’re thankful for every waking hour for the rest of this week and see how that changes your attitude and affects your level of happiness.
If you decide to do this, please share the results here in the comments section. I’d love to know how it goes!
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
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