A number of years ago, during a trip to the north west tip of Zambia, close to the Angolian border, a missionary friend related to me the real life tragedy that has become for me something of parable of human happiness. Diamond smuggling across the Angolian border is a high risk activity but a highly profitable one. A local villager grasped the opportunity of a lifetime to swap his meagre but sufficient possessions and live stock for a bag of such contraband and arrived at the house of the missionary hoping to cash in some of his new found wealth for hard US dollars. The bag was placed on the kitchen table, with delight the grinning millionaire poured out its polished coloured contents over the table. A sack full of childrens glass marbles, as foreign a commodity to the impoverished Zambian as uncut diamonds bounced onto the floor. In seconds happiness was turned to gut wrenching disappointment.
1 Corinthians chapter 6 adds to the already frustrating and at times fruitless human pursuit of happiness the realisation that many who think they have found it, are just about to lose their marbles. A claim to happiness may represent the joy of finding peace with God through His Son Jesus Christ. ‘I am happy,’ may mean, ‘I have cracked it,’ it may mean ‘ I have life and I have life in all of its fullness,’ ‘I am happy,’ may mean that I have had the barrier between me and God removed and know who He is; He is Jesus Christ and I am living in the real joy of His presence and power. Alternatively, as was the case for some at Corinth; ‘I am happy’ may simply mean I have totally missed the purpose of life, I live in ignorance of God, and I have shut myself off into a self contained and self fulfilled cocoon of satisfied natural desires and needs; my stomach is full, my sexual desires are satisfied, my financial needs are catered for and in this bubble of a God denying delusion, I am content and happy. Happy that is until God Himself opens the sack and pours out before His judgment seat; glass marbles and a lost life.
Just added; a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 6 by J Stewart Gillespie: