By Larry Stevens
At the recent Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly in Dallas, something I heard reminded me of one of my favorite bits of wisdom.
Speaking at the CBF Foundation Heritage Society breakfast, the always wise and witty preacher Brett Younger said, “Money CAN make you happy if you spend it in the right way.” He then offered examples of how spending/investing one’s resources in the right way can indeed bring happiness both to the giver and to the recipients.
Brett’s words reminded me of one of the poet Dante’s words of wisdom. “In God’s will is our peace.”
In the busyness of life, even for a retiree, I need such reminders. The words of both the preacher and the poet lead me back to one of Jesus’ most important teachings. In what we know as Matthew 6:33, Jesus challenges us to (my translation): “Strive first for the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and everything else falls into its proper place.”
During the last service of General Assembly, one of my cousin’s daughters was commissioned to work with immigrants in North Africa. She is learning two new languages, moving from the comfort of home to the unknown of North Africa, depending on the generosity of others to help fund her work…and she loves it! It’s a reminder and an example of finding happiness and peace by spending one’s life in the right way.
But one does not have to learn new languages or move thousands of miles from home to find that peaceful happiness. Her twin sister is staying “home” and continuing to teach band/orchestra to middle school students…and she loves it!
I hope to more faithfully live out the wisdom and the example of the preacher, the poet, the twins, and Jesus.
Dr. Larry Stevens is a retired pastor and current member of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.