No Greater JoyMarch 22, 2020 - 12:00 am
are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound. — Psalm 4:6-7
In honour of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his life work helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
What’s it going to take for people to be happy?
We live in a world of smart-phones, the internet, and air-travel — things that our ancestors could not have imagined. We have relative abundance and conveniences that kings of the past could only dream about. Our grocery stores are well-stocked, and we have indoor plumbing, two things that many in the world still live without.
But, for some people, that’s not enough: “Many, LORD, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’” People want to know, “Who will invent the next big thing? What will it be? Maybe when we have that, then we will be happy!”
I love the following quote from actor Jim Carrey. He said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of . . . so they can see it’s not the answer.”
Most people answer the question of happiness with an item or an aspiration: “If only I had a new (fill-in-the-blank) — then I would be happy.” “If only I achieved success and recognition — then I would be happy.” This thinking governs so many of the decisions that we make and how we spend our time, day-in and day-out. But as Jim Carrey says, having experienced living with both fame and fortune, neither will make us happy. Happiness cannot be bought or given.
Happiness is a choice, and it comes from choosing God.
“Let the light of your face shine on us,” King David wrote in Psalm 4. “Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.” People are happy, at least temporarily, when “their grain and new wine abound” — when they acquire more wealth or some new item or gadget. But for me, said David, nothing compares to the joy which God places in my heart. Nothing compares to the light of His presence.
Other people may be misguided and think that they will find happiness elsewhere, but for David it was crystal clear: True and lasting joy comes only from God.
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