Happiness and Joy

Key Verse: He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Luke 9:3

Our happy place is a good place and full of clues and symbols to living a truly joy-filled life. The rub is that we tend to get caught up in the pleasure of happiness without exploring the sources of our joy. In our initial thought experiment, we remembered the joy and generosity of those we sought to serve on our mission trip. Those who laugh, love, and thrive without the toys of our material wealth; find joy in the simplest pleasures.

  • Children playing and laughing
  • Families at a rapturous and raucous meal
  • A monk and his walking stick

We’re reminded that Jesus’ said:

  • Take nothing for your journey (Luke 9:3)
  • Dust off your sandals ( Matt 10:14)
  • Take all that you have and sell it for the poor (Luke 18:22)

Consider: Our addiction to the pleasure of happiness distracts us from the meaningful calling to the way of Jesus: Drink wine, dance, and take all the selfies you want (Matt 11:19).


Discover the meaning of that happiness. What consistent things lie underneath the high points?

Answer these questions:

A time in my life when I felt completely content:
What deeper need was being fulfilled?

Pull out the list from the last session. Take a few moments to sort it out and make your own two lists:

Draw a line of connectedness between the two lists. See any patterns?

Here’s another way to think of it (So many ways to consider all this!):
I have an urge to get a new puppy. Puppies are great! But they’re also high maintenance. So I decide to meet my need for affection and get some of the happiness by adopting a greyhound from Florida. Having a greyhound leads me into experiencing Joy because I meet interesting people when I walk her and join a community of other Greyhound rescuers. I volunteer to help organize a Blessing of the Animals service on St. Francis of Assisi Day. The pet owners of my church gather for the first time. We all share special connection. Others are inspired to adopt abandoned pets. My happiness leads me to experiencing the joy of fellowship with others.