Doug Poling is a retired broadcast journalist who spent 25 years as a correspondent for CBS News, based in New York City. Since retirement, Doug has taught journalism classes at three universities and served as a leader and a Bible class teacher at a church in Franklin, Tennessee. He is married to the former Donna Wiley. They have one son, Jason, and two grandchildren, Ethan and Charlie.
Are you happy? Have you thought about that lately? Some researchers at the University of Michigan did . They wanted to know where in the world people are the happiest. And so they did a world-wide survey. The results showed that people who live in Denmark are the happiest in the world. At least, they SAY they are. The Danes attribute their feeling of well-being to their country’s peaceful atmosphere, social equality and democracy. By contrast, the most miserable place in the world is Zimbabwe. That’s not surprising, considering the extreme poverty in the African nation.
It’s an interesting survey. But, as a Christian, I wonder if it misses the point. Those conducting the survey and those providing the answers seem inclined to think that externals always result in happiness or the lack of it. If the government is good, the economy is good, we’re happy. If not, then we’re unhappy.
The Bible defines happiness very differently. Jesus said happiness is found in such things as humility, serving other people, pursing righteousness and having a pure heart. Never once, in all his teachings, did Jesus say happiness is found in material wealth or prosperity.
The Apostle Paul had his own criteria for happiness, or contentment. In his letter to the Philippians, he wrote, “...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 everything through him who gives me strength.”
Faith in Jesus Christ. A right relationship with God. THAT’s the secret to REAL happiness.
That’s Today’s News and the Good News. I’m Doug Poling