There is a story about a church that was maybe not as outgoing and not as friendly as they should be so the pastor announced they would start a “handshake” time the following Sunday. In other words, they would spend a few moments greeting one another in hopes that they would become a happier group of church members.
After the Sunday service where this new welcome time was announced a man turned to the woman behind him and said, “Good morning!” The woman was shocked by his boldness and she told the man, “I beg your pardon! That friendliness stuff doesn’t start until next week!”
The church should be full of happy, optimistic, satisfied, grace-filled people. Psalm 112:1 says, “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments!” The word “blessed” in this text means “happy.”
When our youngest son Jack was little he would wake up on Sunday morning and say, “Is it church day?!” This is one of those commands or precepts that the happy Christian will follow. We are told not to give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing (Hebrews 10:25). Fewer and fewer people attend “church day” and it makes me wonder if this is why we see fewer and fewer happy Christians?
Psalm 112 goes onto say in verse 2, “His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” So not only will the guy that follows Jesus be happy but he will also be honored. He honors God with an obedient life and God honors him, his family is blessed. Sounds like a win-win.
My experience is when I am obedient because of a love relationship with Christ my fellowship with Him is sweeter, the presence and power of the Lord in my life is more vibrant, faithfulness becomes more of a labor of love rather than a chore I have to do. Running to God with intentionality always beats running from God because of willful sin. The Lord never blesses my sin but He always fills my cup when I am abiding with Him. It seems there are no shortcuts to sustainable, viable Biblical happiness.
Some of us grew up singing, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” I guess there is truth in that song, or at least there can be.
This Psalm mentions adversity in verses 4, 6 - 8, “Light dawns in darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful and righteous. For the righteous will never be moved; He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, …”
It’s not that the Christian life is without “darkness.” But even in the dark days, the one who trusts the Lord is not only “steady” and “firm” but they remain compassionate towards others, giving to the poor and doing business in honesty. Verse 5 tells us, “It is well with the man … who conducts his affairs with justice.” And verse 9 says, “He … distributes freely; … to the poor;” I don’t know the man the psalmists writes about, but I like this guy!
Happy, honest, compassionate, undeterred and fearless, not a bad way to start the day. Are you a happy Christian? Go ahead and let that “friendliness” stuff start today. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.