FROM PASTOR TIM:  A Lesson from Finland . . . on Happiness

Thank you for your feedback from Sunday’s sermon. You might know it was a bit long.  But I am grateful for the encouraging comments given the challenge the sermon offered. This coming Sunday’s message in this series will be mind-blowing for some, but mercifully shorter…I think😉

This series is really about tempering our constant desire to need to know God’s will. Sometimes knowing too much can put us in a bind, as we have seen with Abram and Sarai, and then last week with Rebekah and Jacob. 

Instead, we really need to learn to live in the time and moment that God gives us because by God’s grace, we have His word, and as a result, we know so much of His will for our lives already.  It’s really a matter of being faithful to read, understand and submit to what we know already.

Neither Abram nor Rebekah had a Bible.  While God spoke to them, they did not have the full picture in print they could consult.  So, like us, they did the best they could stumbling along.  As I have mentioned in both cases, I am not too quick to judge them given what God had revealed to them.

Living in the moment can be satisfying, we don’t always have to look to the future for God’s will to find satisfaction. Consider this. For six years in a row, Finland has been rated as the number one country in the world for happiest places to live. Curious.

Psychologists list several reasons why that is so, such as being in nature regularly, avoiding comparing themselves to others, universal health care, and a great education system.  But another characteristic of Finns is that they do not constantly look into the future.  They live in the moment. 

While I am not advocating that anyone moves to Finland, it is interesting to see the importance of one’s well-being is in some measure tied to learning to be content with the present, and enjoy it to the max.  

When you consider how cold it is in Finland most of the year, and that they share a long border with Russia at such challenging times as these, you have to marvel at their collective ability to live well in the moment. 

Constantly yearning to learn God’s will can sap our joy in living for Him in the present.  We know what His will is for us, so much of which is revealed in His word, so let’s get on with it and live well for Him in the present.

Having said all of that, do recall that joy is superior to happiness.  The latter comes and goes, but joy that is grounded in Christ remains forever.

By the way, Israel was ranked 4th on the list, and the U.S. 15th.

God’s blessings on you all!

Pastor Tim