The Foolish Person Seeks Happiness in the Distance

I’m sure most of us at one time in our lives have used the famous quote, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” At the very least, we’ve heard our parents say it. This happiness quote has been said much more eloquently by the American poet James Oppenheim:

“The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under their feet.”

In the Declaration of Independence our founding fathers listed a number of God-given rights, and among them was the pursuit of happiness. It is also within our human nature to seek out and pursue happiness, and pursue it we do. But, are we wise in our pursuits, or foolish according to Oppenheim?

The Bible teaches us that it is God’s desire that we be happy, being filled with His joy. We live in a world where the attainment of happiness is defined by worldy experience and  the acquiring of “stuff”, yet we see it over and over again: these things do not bring lasting happiness. True happiness comes from the spritual experience of knowing and loving God.

“Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” – Psalm 144:15 KJV

And that happiness is here, and now, and not in the distance of space or time. Oppenheim is correct: if we look to be happy by looking outside of ourselves, by only changing our circumstances, by acquiring what others have, then we are indeed fools. Jesus said:

“Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:21 KJV

“Know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.” – Luke 10:11 NKJV

I will be the first to admit that circumstances and the daily things of life can sometimes make it hard to be happy. But let’s look under our feet and count our blessings. Strip away all of the “stuff” that you think makes you happy and draw your attention to the blessed thought that God loves you. His Kingdom is near to you, if we could only learn to reach out and embrace that fact.

God has created us that we would have joy, but that joy comes in knowing and focusing on The One who died that we might live. Don’t worry, be happy, remember that God loves you more than you know. And He is here now.


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