Thursday, February 7, 2008

On Being Happy, Being Good

I read a book this evening by Mark Sanborn. Short read, not a lot of meat to chew on, but a few excellent spots.

Tony Campolo talks of childhood with a father who didn't care if he was happy, because he had much higher aspirations for his kids. He wanted them to be good -- that is, strong, ethical people interacting well with their world. Sanborn comments, "Being happy is enviable, but being good is truly admirable. It requires character, integrity, and perseverance."

This isn't a new point, but is one worth repeating. How often do we focus on what pleases us, and consequently lose focus on the impact we can have on our surroundings? When Jesus told us to pray for God's kingdom to come and God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven, he did not intend for this prayer to be the end of things. Rather, we are to play a continual and active role in making it so.

Going back to the book, even "good" may be a pretty mediocre goal. Sanborn goes on to quote Erwin McManus: "We spend so much time worrying about our kids being good -- not breaking the rules [or] getting into trouble, and basically behaving -- that we often forget to invite them to be great."

I don't want to settle for anything less.

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