The Four Things People Need To Be Happy
Researcher Jane McGonigal states that people need four things to be happy: “satisfying work to do, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like, and a chance to be part of something bigger.” I’m always interested to see when research dovetails with what the Bible teaches. If you are a Christian, you have access to all of these. It’s up to you to claim it or engage in it, but if you do, joy awaits.
1) Satisfying work to do. No matter what kind of job you do for money, the work God gives you encompasses it and everything else in your life. God gives all of us a mission here that in some way contributes to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. You won’t ever retire from this work. Your life will always have purpose.
2) The experience of being good at something. When you give your life to God, you receive a spiritual gift. Even the most disabled of God’s children receives a spiritual gift. You may have innate talents God has already given you. But your spiritual gift is separate. It is something God has given you that builds up the church. It’s not something you developed. It’s a gift. So no matter what else you may fail at in life, no matter how low your innate abilities are, you will be good at this. This is a great reassurance to people who have struggled to succeed at various things.
3) Time spent with people we like. God set up a spiritual family for us by creating the church. And he told us to “not give up meeting together.” Hebrews 10:25. God has guaranteed us community if we will join in. Think of all the old people, the lonely people, the social misfits, who would have no real community if not for church. They look forward to every Sunday because it may be their only social connection.
If you don’t like people at church, I think you may be making superficial judgments. Most people are likable if you look for the likable things. One cool thing about the church is that it encompasses all races and economic classes and educational levels. That’s a glorious thing, but it may make relationships more work for us. We may not quickly connect with people who are not homogenous to us. But that’s what God wants us to do. And the other people at church need the relationship with YOU. If you spend time with them, you will end up liking them.
4) A chance to be part of something bigger. God has given us partnership in the greatest story ever told, the greatest mission ever attempted. Nothing is bigger than this. And we are all in it together. If you feel a sense of great camaraderie when you are at a game with all the fans of your team rejoicing wildly, you have the tiniest taste of what it’s like to be rejoicing with all God’s angels and people when His mission is accomplished. He wants to bring everyone to Him and bring His kingdom to this earth. Let’s join him in this mission.