the equation for contentment, happiness, and joy:

“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them. Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is. Matthew 6:19-21

1-IMG_1333Sometimes, when I get up early enough to take a decent walk before work, I remember to look up at the trees and the sky and the clouds and I remember how simple the equation for contentment really is. Awareness plus a sense of purpose plus gratitude equals contentment.

A+SP+G=C

It’s not complicated. Unless that is, you buy into the propaganda, the lies, the fake news that everything we need for “The Good Life” can be purchased or comes to us if only we get the next job promotion, bigger house, fancier car etc.

And we do. We get sucked in. We put ourselves at debt and at risk and under pressure for trinkets that mean nothing. We sacrifice time with people we love and we neglect relationships and we make morally compromising choices so we can pad our resume and stockpile stuff we don’t want and we don’t need. We miss the point.

The World’s Happiest Places:

I’ve been thinking about this today because I’m writing an article about priorities for a big men’s website. My research took me to a National Geographic article featuring “The World’s Happiest Places.”

These are places, the article reports, where “people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and enjoy lives that minimize stress and maximize joy.”

The three strands common in people who live in contentment are, according to the article, pleasure, purpose, and pride. Do we invest time and resources in the things we enjoy? Do we feel engaged in life with a sense of purpose? And do we take satisfaction in what we do?

Where Your Heart is:

I believe this is a useful conversation to be having in what is known as the stewardship season at most churches. I am convinced one of the reasons Rebekah and I are bonafide happy is that we invest both our time and our resources too. We give generously in the context of the strands the National Geographic isolated above:

  • “Do we invest our time and our energy and our resources?”
  • “Are we engaged in life with a sense of purpose?”
  • “Do we take satisfaction in what we do?”

So many people tap out their time and their resources for priorities that have not, do not, and will not provide joy and satisfaction.

That’s certainly something to think about when we are trying to decide between “moth and rust” and “real treasure.”

Because if our treasure lines up with what truly gives us meaning and purpose, that is where we will most certainly find contentment, joy, happiness, and satisfaction.

– DEREK

 

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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