What’s special about September 4? Perhaps it’s your birthday or anniversary. That would make it special. Or maybe you could celebrate the historic events of this day. For instance, in 1781, the city of Los Angeles, California, was founded. Or this: In 1993, Jim Abbott, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, didn’t let anyone get a hit off his pitches—and he was born without a right hand. Or if you’re a TV fan: In 1951, the first live US coast-to-coast television broadcast was aired from San Francisco.
On my daily commute to and from the office, I have plenty of time for reading—bumper stickers on cars, that is. Some are surly, others clever, and still others downright distasteful. One bumper sticker I saw recently, however, gently challenged my heart about the way I often engage life. The sticker simply said, “Too blessed to complain.”
Recently, I saw a television ad for a restaurant chain that made a dramatic claim. At those restaurants, the ad said you could “Help Yourself to Happiness.” Wouldn’t it be nice if a helping of potatoes or meat or pasta or dessert would be all that was needed to provide happiness? Unfortunately, no restaurant can fulfill that promise.
As we look forward to the New Year with plans and resolutions, the voices of godly men from the past encourage us to think about something we prefer to ignore—our own death.
A 47-year-old Austrian man gave away his entire $4.7 million fortune after concluding that his wealth and lavish spending were keeping him from real life and happiness. Karl Rabeder told the Daily Telegraph (London), “I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things I did not wish for or need. It was the biggest shock in my life when I realized how horrible, soulless, and without feeling the ‘five-star’ lifestyle is.” His money now funds charities he set up to help people in Latin America.
I always look forward to summer. The warm sunshine, baseball, beaches, and barbecues are pleasures that bring joy after a long, cold winter. But pleasure-seeking isn’t just seasonal. Don’t we all enjoy good food, engaging conversation, and a crackling fire?
I wear only two pieces of jewelry: a wedding band on my finger and a small Celtic cross on a chain around my neck. The ring represents my vow to be faithful to Carolyn, my wife, as long as I shall live. The cross reminds me that it is not for her sake alone, but for Jesus’ sake that I do so. He has asked me to be faithful to her until death shall separate us.
After studying the effect of the post-World War II economic boom in Japan, Richard Easterlin concluded that monetary growth does not always bring more satisfaction. More recently, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers conducted surveys in more than 100 nations and concluded that life satisfaction is highest in the richest countries.