In the early days of our country’s founding Benjamin Franklin often spoke on the greatness of our newly formed Constitution.
Once at the conclusion of a stirring speech on the guarantees of the Constitution, a heckler shouted, “Aw, them words don’t mean nothin’ at all. Where’s all the happiness you say it guarantees us?
Franklin smiled and replied, “My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness; you have to catch it yourself.”
Our word of the week is “Cheerful.”
To paraphrase Franklin, Jesus came to bring cheerfulness to the world, but you have to catch it yourself!
The Greek word for cheerful is hilaros. Dr. Vine defines it as “propitious; He says it “signifies that readiness of mind, that joyousness, which is prompt to do anything; hence, “cheerful” But you don’t have to be a Greek scholar to see the English word “hilarious” is derived from it.
Cheerfulness comes from within. It is an attitude. A frame of mind. The choice of one’s mental position. Mary C. Crowley put it this way, “Attitude is the minds paintbrush. It can color a situation gloomy or gray, or cheerful.”
The Bible has a good bit to say about the value and virtue of being cheerful.
(1) Cheerfulness or the lack of it affects our outward demeanor. The wise man wrote, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Prov 15:13). The inward attitude of cheerful will improve your face-value!
(2) Cheerfulness will improve your overall health. The Bible says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22)
Dr. Lisa R. Yanek, assistant professor in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s division of General Internal Medicine, says, having a happy disposition can make you healthier because it has an effect on disease. “If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events.”
(3) Cheerfulness should be demonstrated in Daily Christian Living.
The Bible teaches that we are to be cheerful givers. As God prospers us, we should purposely give back to him, not with a begrudging spirit, but a cheerful attitude ( 2 Cor 9:7-8)
James, a book on Christian living says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (Jas. 5:13). We have a song in our hymn books entitled, “Sing and Be Happy.”
The apostle Paul even connects gifts of mercy in Romans 12:8 when he speaks of one showing mercy with cheerfulness.
(4) Our Worship should be filled with a spirit of Cheerfulness.
Jeff Walling tells the story of an alien that sees a church building and peeks in and asks “what are they doing in there?” “They are worshiping”, His guide told him.
“Why are they worshiping?”, asked the alien.
“Because they have been saved by the grace of God and they are going to go to heaven and live in paradise with God forever.”
To which the Alien replied, “Do they know that?!”
Jesus taught that God-pleasing worship is not only according to Truth, but is done in the right spirit (John 4:23-24). Worship should be a joyful, happy and cheerful experience.
(5) Even when outward circumstances are unfavorable, we can feel inner cheerfulness.
Jesus promised, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
B.C. Forbes was right when he wrote, “Cheerfulness is among the most laudable virtues. It gains you the good will and friendship of others. It blesses those who practice it and those upon whom it is bestowed.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman