The World Happiness Report for 2017 recently reported it's findings with some sobering news for those of us living in the United States.
According to this extensive report, the U.S. continues to slip down the list of the "happiest" countries in the world. In 2007 the U.S. was ranked 3rd. It has since slipped to 19th for a variety of reasons.
The news in the U.S. isn't good lately. We have seen the loss of civility in public discourse. Greed rules the day in business, running roughshod over the greater good. The poor get poorer, the wealthy have great gain, but are largely miserable.
We have so much, but none of it is bringing us the happiness we long for.
Interestingly, the ability or desire to be generous is one of the criteria that is crucial in determining a person's happiness index. The people who report the highest levels of happiness, according to the Happiness Report, also report high levels of generosity.
In other words, happiness is directly related to generosity.
In the book of Proverbs, we have this straightforward truth: "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." (Proverbs 17:1)
As followers of Jesus, it falls on us to lead by example. We need to live generously in all aspects of our life. We need to be generous with our finances, to be sure, but we also need to be generous with our time, our grace, our forgiveness, our spiritual gifts and talents... all that we are.
May you find a way to spread true happiness--the kind of happiness that comes from living generously like Jesus would have us live. Choose to give love, mercy and grace freely today, even to those who may not deserve it. Live open-handed with your whole life.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.