Reevaluating happiness

Once, before sending his twelve disciples to heal and preach, Christ Jesus gave them explicit instructions: "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." Matt. 10:9, 10; Apparently his students were obedient, but they may have had doubts about this radical approach. Jesus later modified his instructions to include provisions for their journeying, but the emphasis on reliance on God remained.

Whenever there seems to be a blank in our lives, we may think so longingly of the thing we believe is missing that it takes on huge importance to us—in our belief—as the source of good and of happiness. A job when we are unemployed, companionship when we are lonely, a home to which we can withdraw when the frictions of daily life become unbearable, are familiar examples of desired solutions to desperately felt needs. The inadequacy of this pattern of thought was made clear by Jesus. The Master knew that to pray correctly and heal effectively we must keep consciousness centered on God, not matter.

September 3, 1979

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