In 1978 Douglas Adams wrote a farcical novel called “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In this wonderfully entertaining book we learned that the earth was simply a giant computer created by a civilization from another dimension in order to discover “The Answer.” But after several thousands of our years the earth was destroyed to make way for an intergalactic byway. But fortunately the operators escaped in time and they had just been able to work out the answer. This only created another and much larger problem. What is the question?
It seems to me (major disclaimer) that this may be where the Christian Church in almost all of its expressions has come up with the wrong answer or question in this case. This is where it all falls apart. What is the question? If we look around at the people all around us we do not see people who are wondering if they will go to heaven when they die. But that is the question that all of Christendom is answering.
Could it possibly be that people are really interested in how to be happy? Could it also be that when they look at the other people who claim to be Christians they don’t see happy?
“Christians” seem really interested in telling those who are not Christians that they are going to Hell if they don’t pray a certain prayer, say some special words and do some ceremonies. Christians seem really interested in pointing out the sins that others are doing. As Christians, disciples of Jesus, active members of the (fill in the blank) church do we have anything that is truly of interest to those who haven’t bought our T-shirts?
Let’s just assume that the real question is something like, “how can I be happy?” Does the Bible or Jesus have an answer to that question? I believe that the answer in bold flashing capital letters is YES WE DO. The colossal problem is that many of the people wearing the T-shirts and flashing the hand book are not doing what it says in order to be happy. So the non-T-shirt wearing non hand book flashing public doesn’t believe the sales pitch when the results are obviously not as advertised.
The Word of God tells us in many places who will be happy. These simple instructions involve conforming to God’s pattern. Take some time to look up the references in your bible that begin with the word blessed. This is just another word for happy.
Jesus showed us by his life how to conform to God’s pattern. In Hebrews 1:9 it says that because Jesus loved to do what was righteous (God’s pattern) and hated lawlessness (that’s everything else) God poured the oil of gladness (happiness) over him more that over anyone else.
This is much more difficult than telling people they will go to hell if they don’t conform to my religion. But this is the way that I have chosen for myself. Thankfully I have made some small progress and I am trusting God that he will give me the power to continue in this way. I hope some others will follow me as I follow Jesus and learn to be happy in all situations.
It is something to think about.