Summary: The world offers us fame, wealth, beauty, wisdom, and power to make us happy. But true happiness can only be found in one place.
Today we conclude our freedom messages. We’ve discussed our life in Christ and our freedom in Christ. Today I want to teach about our pursuit of happiness.
What makes you happy? In a recent survey the most common themes of happiness were fame, wealth, beauty, wisdom, and power. Those surveyed felt any combination of these 5 things could bring true happiness. Let’s look at each one.
Fame--- In a recent survey of high school kids, 51% said their ultimate goal was to be famous. This is a new trend among those in high school. Experts say where you find kids who desperately want to be famous; you find a history of neglect at home. The explosion of those desiring to be famous came right along with the explosion of single parents and “broken” homes. The fact 51% desire to be famous and 51% come from broken homes is no coincidence. And sadly those who do become famous are four times more likely to commit suicide.
Wealth--- Nigeria is the most populous country in West Africa. The life expectancy is 47 years. Almost 10% of their newborns do not survive. Only 29% of their population goes beyond elementary education. 32% are illiterate. Their average income is $300 a year.
But according to a recent United Nations survey the Nigerians are happier with their lives than the people from any other country. The United States ranked 16th. China’s levels of happiness and personal satisfaction are dropping at the same rate of the explosion of their economy and increase of their incomes.
The reason wealth does not bring happiness is because we are a people of comparisons. I make about 50 thousand dollars a year. I envy the guy who makes 500 thousand dollars a year. But that guy envies the one who makes 5 million dollars a year. And on it goes. But I make almost 200 times more than the average Nigerian and they are 15 times happier than I am. By the way, you naturally don’t want as much as the next guy, you want more and always will.
Beauty--- It is a fact that being physically attractive has concrete advantages. Attractive people earn more, get better grades, have better jobs, and find more successful partners than average people. Strangers are more likely to help them in a crisis. They have wider social circles.
But they also have the same self-esteem problems that the average looking people do. Like money, attractiveness is relative and if you look better than your friends you start comparing yourself to those in the media. What you don’t realize is that their pictures have been Photo shopped to remove any blemishes or unattractive features.
Wisdom--- We call those with great wisdom at what they do “genius”. For example Cam Newton is a “genius” at being a quarterback. (Sorry all you Rodger and Romo fans!) But too many times great wisdom can lead us to being very obnoxious.
Did anyone watch “House” on TV? He was a doctor with great wisdom at solving great medical riddles. But it gave him a free pass to do drugs on the job, break hospital policy, insult his superiors, and treat patients with extreme disrespect. Although he was a fictional character sadly his portrayal can be all too real.