I plan to repeat this to myself again and again as I move throughout my days in the upcoming weeks. I believe that putting God first in life is the key to finding joy in this life. It’s what today’s gospel calls us to do – plain and simple.
These three S’s surely help to reinforce that God-given sense of joy and peace. Notice that I used the word “joy” and not “happiness.” To me joy is like having a little smile in your heart. It’s not bubbling over with emotion and excitement like happiness is. Life surely has its ups and downs! We may not be able to maintain the high of happiness, but we can protect that small impish grin within.
A friend of mine told me last week that our local food bank’s shelves were empty again. I guess with the schools being out for summer, organizations may not be holding regular food drives to supply the bank. Still, people in our area are unemployed and hungry. When I took a deeper look at my grocery purchases and “spur of the moment” treats lately, I realized that I was basically wasting money that I could share with someone who is truly in need. Do we really have to have two types of cookies for the week, or soda? Could we not have a simple dessert, drink more water and use that money to buy groceries for the hungry?
When I say “Save” for the first S, I don’t necessarily mean hoard money to fill my savings account (thought a little more saving would be good), but I mean using the gifts God has given my family more wisely, so as to be able to share more with others. I need to teach my kids the virtue of temperance by exercising it myself.
My second S is Serve. True joy comes from helping others – stepping outside of our own troubles and focusing on someone else’s for a while. This miraculously lightens the burden of both the recipient and the giver. We’re all in this together! I want to have a more humble attitude of service. Do you know that the catechism states that we were each created “to know, to love and to serve God..?” We serve God by serving others.
Simplicity – I’ve talked about this before. “Retail therapy” is so unsatisfying. I know that when I shop, I get a high that is very short-lived. I feel good for a while, and then I find myself asking, “O.K., what’s next?” We’re all searching for that someone/something to make us feel good. God is the answer – the only one who can fill our hunger! In order to be filled, we must show up. We have got to put God first by making time with Him first priority in each and every day. If we don’t, we will suffer. Things will not make us happy. Only God can give us true and lasting joy.
Save, Serve, Simplicity….Save, Serve, Simplicity…