Darrow Miller and Friends

Sabbatical Reflections: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Sabbatical Reflections: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part 1 of 3)
  2. Sabbatical Reflections: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part 2 of 3)
  3. Sabbatical Reflections: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part 3 of 3)
  4. Happiness: Where Does It Come From?
  5. Happiness: You Can Find It In Any Circumstances
  6. Happiness, the False and the True
  7. The Pursuit of Happiness
  8. To Be Happy, Follow These Three Steps
  9. Happiness According to the New Testament

As part of my sabbatical reflection, I am reading Marva J. Dawn’s book The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath Way of Life.

An early quote in the book captured my attention. Dawn wrote:  “We can easily give into our culture’s craving for happiness and miss the true joy of genuine faithfulness” (3).  It seems to me that true happiness is in fact the joy of genuine faithfulness.

Wiktionary defines happiness as 1)  joy, the emotions of being happy, 2) good luck, good fortune, prosperity, and 3)  an agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening.

The word “happy” is derived from the Middle English word “hap” meaning “chance,” “good fortune,” “luck.” So, basically, to be happy is to have good hap.

Surely, in the modern materialistic West, happiness is the pursuit of good hap.  It has the sense of chasing pleasure and good fortune.  It seems to involve the self-absorption of a narcissistic culture. “It’s always about me.”  Happiness can be summed up in the Hedonist’s manifesto:  Eat, drink, and be merry,  for tomorrow we die!

In reality, the pursuit of happiness when defined as good circumstances, good luck, and good feeling,  can actually lead to much unhappiness.  People use alcohol, drugs, limitless sex, and sometimes work to satiate a life that is lonely and unhappy.  People who have “everything” are often unhappy when they have it and are devastated when they lose it.

Because we live in a world dominated by an atheistic and materialistic culture we must be careful to stand away from the modern atheistic paradigm of happiness and continually press into the historic Biblical paradigm.

-Darrow L. Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).