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The Happiest People in the World

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The Happiest People in the World

A popular morning show hosted a segment a few weeks ago on the happiest people in the world.  Their research led them to Copenhagen, Denmark.  For the people of Copenhagen, their daily lives were scrutinized, revealing the secret to the happiness of the people there.  Fifty percent of the population ride their bicycles to work, and the common way of life is in apartment/condo type housing, which means sharing back yards and outdoor meal tables.  The people of each community look after one another and their children.  The reporter was walking the streets in an interview with a pedestrian when they discovered an unsupervised stroller on the sidewalk.  The stroller was bundled up with blankets and covers, and upon peeking inside they saw a sleeping baby.  Yes, baby, in a stroller, all alone.  I’m sure a parent was around a corner, but this scene was not alarming at all to the pedestrian in the interview.  It is safe, people look after one another, it is community.  As the scene was displayed on the show, I saw neighbors grilling and eating together in a backyard setting, which would be a typical evening dinner.  The people described a term they use that means more than a neighbor, less than a friend.  The community in which they live and eat may or may not be their closest friends, but they are more than just a neighbor.  Once again, we see community.

Another factor in the happiness of the people is the work ethic.  These people value work, they value a paycheck, but they don’t have a competitive drive on climbing a ladder.  They work normal jobs, but they are content and live within their means.  They also work lighter loads.  A typical workday for them is five hours.  This leaves them ready to spend family time, time on other important things, and time on hobbies.  This leaves them more rested and perhaps a bit less stressed.

I couldn’t help but think about some very important things while watching this segment.  I have traveled all over Europe, several times, and I have seen, and been shocked by, some of the very same habits.  Children running or biking, little children at that, with no parental eyes close by.  Adults up in age bicycling, this alone keeps the body active and strong.  The people bicycle and walk more than they drive, and in most European cities families may not even have their own car. The people are more of a community.  The first thing that came to mind was that Americans are typically the opposite.  We spend more time working and with our work family than with our family, and sometimes even family time is interrupted by “work”.  Children are not safe, people are, more than not, more concerned with their own business than looking after one another.  We have created an environment that states, “stay out of my business, and I’ll stay out of yours.”  We often do not entertain at our dinner table, we often don’t even know our neighbors first names.  I asked a friend a few months ago as we were walking through the market in her hometown in France, “why do the children walk around without any parents, is it really that safe here?”  She replied, “usually the parents are somewhere the eye can see, but yes, it is very safe here, there usually are no worries!”

Another convicting thing about watching this show that came to my mind is the New Testament church.  This happy scene almost exactly describes the first church of the first christians in Acts.  We see community, we see sharing the dinner table, we see looking after one another, and we see close friendships.  In Acts, we read the love in that church, and how that love displayed the love of Christ, so much that outsiders were being converted daily.  The church was putting on display the sacrificial love that Christ had shown them.  How happy would we be if we modeled that love?  Very happy, because that would mean loving our neighbors as ourselves, forgiving one another, having personal relationships, sharing the dinner table, weeping with one another through tragedy, rejoicing with one another through victories and blessings, financially meeting one another’s needs resulting in less stressful lives, and the list goes on.  We wouldn’t get offended when someone meddled in our business because it would mean they loved us enough to help us through a hard time.  Life was less than perfect for these early christians, but they were doing the christian thing right.

 

Acts 2:42-47

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” 

If we want to be happy, truly happy and joyful in Christ, then the church should live and love like that early church Acts.  What an impact for Christ we could make if the morning show put on display the most happy, joyful people in the world.  It would be people that are scattered all over, on every continent.  It’s a people that live all over the world.  It’s a people that share burdens, share the dinner tables, share finances, share life.  These people are the church.  What a testimony that would be!

 

I John 4:7-8, 10 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.  He that loves not, knows not God for God is love. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

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