Because I’m Happy…

minion stuartDo you remember the “minions?” They are the adorable yellow little helpers for Gru in the films Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. They’ve shown up in advertising, television programs and music since those two movies, and now, on July 10th, is the debut of their own movie entitled simply, Minions. I mention the minions because one of the more popular connections with them is The Happy Song by Pharrel Williams. It’s an incredibly uplifting number that was the theme song for Despicable Me 2.  Watch it here:

 

The Happy Song is an incredibly happy, fun song that seeks to communicate the attitude we all should have as we go through life—no matter what happens, we should be happy. If we have a “happy” attitude, everything will look bright and sunny and better than it really is. While attitude may be 90% of life’s battle, a happy attitude will not always color the circumstances of life because as we define happiness, it is too dependent upon what happens to us.

In contrast, as we survey Psalm 1, we find what I like to call “The Original Happy Song.”

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

The First Psalm opens up with the phrase translated “blessed is the man.” The Hebrew word is esher, and is often translated as an interjection that says, “Happy is the man!” The New Living Translation says, “Oh the joys of those…!” This is a holy moment, and David seems to be overwhelmed with joy as he shouts this great truth in song. We need to be aware, too, that as David sings, this is the opening song of the Hebrew hymnbook. He’s writing a sacred song to a sacred people. The tune would not be on the top ten iTunes playlist. This is a song for those who desire to know God. What David says, in essence, is that if you want to discover happiness, live this way. Live this way, not that way, and you will find happiness. It’s the first instruction given to the faith community in their life of worship.

It’s interesting that Jesus started in the same place David started. You remember how Jesus began his ministry? He gathered his disciples on a hillside in Galilee, sat them down, and in the Beatitudes, gave them the keys to a happy life: “Blessed (happy) are the meek, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” Live this way, and you’ll find happiness. Jesus and David on the same page. That’s probably not an accident. It’s probably not an accident, either, that like David does in this first psalm, Jesus talked about trees, well, more specifically, vines and branches, and he also talked about a path, as does David in Psalm 1. In the same message in which Jesus preached about happiness, he closes that message with this admonition: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7: 13 – 14 NIV). Compare that to David’s, “For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction” (verse 6).

Both David and Jesus tell us there’s a way for people of faith to live their lives to discover the fullness of God’s salvation. It includes both positive and negative behavior. Don’t do that. Do this. There’s a right way to live, and a wrong way to live.

Here’s a point to ponder today: There are two different roads in life, and no matter how much we don’t like to talk about it, not every road leads to the same place. It might be time to ask, “Which road am I on?”

Until next time, keep looking up…

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