The Limits of Pleasure and Happiness
Devotion/Discussion Thought of the Day:
2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Philippians 4:2-4 (NLT)
228 “Have a good time,” they said as usual. And the comment of a soul very close to God was, “What a limited wish!” (1)
As Paul begins the 4th chapter of Philippians, he deals with conflict in the church, and assuming it is dealt with encourages joy – deep joy. The reason is that reconciliation is always joyous – always worth the sacrifice, even though it is never quite a “good time”. It is so far more than than just a good time, this joy that comes from doing that which is uncomfortable.
Yet many of us would prefer the good time, than invest the time in what would bring a far great joy.
We see a small example of this truth of investment when in the following. Doing what is not a “good time” is like going to the doctor’s office – or to the gym – the investment of time and money always results in something more beneficial that sitting in a movie theater, or sitting in front of the television. But we would rather not subject ourselves to the examination, to the questions, we would rather not hear the bad news – or spend the exertion in getting ourselves in shape. Blood, sweat and tears ( in both places) are lost, as well as time that could have been spent, “having a good time” But having a good time often means dangerous things to our health, as we don’t take care of what needs to be taken care of. Happiness and pleasure, short term things often result in more time suffering, more time in poor condition, more time in brokenness. It is, as Josemaria points out – a very limited wish – a very limited blessing. One which fades – quickly and devastatingly.
It is even more true spiritually though, this way in which we spend our time.
Being those who desire to see that which is broken healed means what we do isn’t often a “good time” . It can often be painful, uncomfortable, awkward. It means sacrificing both pleasure and happiness, looking to the joy- that in which the healing and reconciliation results. But sacrificing it, even as Christ did (see Hebrews 12:2) for the joy set before us. Helping people see they would rather have the joy than the very limited “good time”…. that is our call as well!
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 629-630). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.