If you’ve been chasing the American dream for long, you’ve probably figured out that this “pursuit of happiness” bit is at best elusive and at worst merely cheese to draw you into the rat race and keep you running. That’s probably because the whole concept was an edit to John Locke’s trinity of rights to “life, liberty and property.” Happiness definitely sounds better, but I’m not so sure Americans (or anyone else, for that matter) don’t believe the two to be synonymous. There’s a reason possession is nine-tenths of the law, folks.
No matter how enlightened we may claim to be, it is man’s nature to perpetually pursue and acquire things – even things that aren’t things, like our families and our reputations. Things that are ours! Things that make us happy! Why do you think the disciples were so appalled when Jesus told them that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven? If a rich man isn’t “blessed’ enough to enter the kingdom, then who can be saved?
This is the same paradigm shift that makes the beatitudes so radical. Jesus’ words strike blow after blow to everything most of us spend our entire lives pursuing in one way or another. Blessed is a word that doesn’t really like to be defined in any language, but the reality is that the Greek’s best guess at its meaning was simply, “happy,” and the Hebrews likely viewed it in such a context as a gift. But how can the poor or the mourning be happy? And what kind of gift is persecution?
These are some of the questions I’ll be wrestling with in this weblog of my “pursuit of happy.” I believe that being blessed means infinitely more than being happy, but the reality is that I don’t believe it is something that can be reduced to a definition at all, in any language. I’m inviting you to join me on a journey where we will discover its meaning by looking together at the attributes of those the Scriptures have called blessed and by seeking to know it in our own lives – even if we find that it may cost us more than we imagine.
I started my personal pursuit of happiness by highlighting every “blessed is” I came across while reading through the Scriptures. From just that cursory look, I can tell you that our journey will not be easy, but I trust that the Father delights in our search (Proverbs 25:2) and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us into the deep things of His heart (1 Corinthians 2:10).
What You Can Expect:
- My basic plan (at the moment) is to write in three categories: happy principles (“blessed is” Scripture verses), happy stories (stories of men and women who have found blessing – from Scripture and elsewhere), and happy me (personal entries about my own pursuit of happy in the day-to-day grind).
- I’d like to add a category called “happy you.” This would be personal stories of pursuing happiness submitted by readers like you! If you have one to share, please submit it here.
- I welcome feedback, ideas, and
evenespecially topic suggestions. Talk to me about it here.
- I’m in pursuit of blessedness – that doesn’t mean I’ve found it and have all the answers. Expect revisions and please search out the Scriptures on your own. The greatest thing this blog can do is whet your appetite for the Word and drive you back to the Source of every good and perfect gift.