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The Pursuit of Happiness

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Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs. — Psalm 100:2

Everyone is in the pursuit of happiness. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself!” But for most people, happiness is elusive. We say, “I will be happy when . . . .” Fill in the blank. It usually goes . . . when I have more money, when I get that promotion, when I get married, when I have kids, when the kids move out, when I retire, and so on and so forth. It’s no wonder so many people feel like they just can’t catch happiness.

In Psalm 100, however, King David lets us in on a little secret about happiness. He wrote: “Worship the LORD with gladness . . .” The Jewish sages understand it this way: If you want to be happy, then worship the Lord.

Few things bring us greater joy than serving our Creator. When we are serving God, we are focused on what we can give and not on what we are lacking. We focus on what is good in our lives and not what is wrong. When we contribute to God’s world we feel good about who we are instead of upset about who we could or should have been. When we bring joy to others, we can’t help but light up with joy ourselves.

What’s more, serving the Lord is something that we can do anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstances. In times of abundance, we can give. In times of scarcity, we can have faith. When things are easy, we can sing out praises to God. And when times are tough, we can call out to Him in prayer. In our homes or in our workplaces – there is always someone to help or God’s Word to share. The possibilities are endless.

We can always worship God, which means that we can always be happy. No matter what! We don’t have to pursue happiness. We just have to stop running away from it – and serve the Lord today.

Try this ancient advice and think of how you can serve the Lord today. How can you worship Him throughout the day? Dedicate just one day – or even better – one week, to give of yourself to God, to His children, and to His world. You will be happy you did!

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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