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Maslow, Jesus, and the Pursuit of Happiness

by on September 17, 2013


Abraham Maslow has given us the pyramid of the hierarchy of needs. The basic needs must be fulfilled before meta-needs can be expected. And, of course, “self-actualization” is the ultimate objective. Never mind that in his later years, Maslow himself could not define that term and today, that term has been replaced.

And then there is the “pursuit of happiness” guaranteed to all Americans. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Even Norman Rockwell, the illustrator, visually expressed the longings of every American dreams on the covers of popular magazines.

All this is well and good. Or, maybe not. There is a growing dissatisfaction with life (in spite of liberty and the pursuit of happiness). Elusive concepts they are. Happiness, after all may be a serendipitous result of a different pursuit.

Postmodernism has brought us face to face with the realities of our choices. There is no truth. There is no meta-narrative. If that is true, then: what is there? Anywhere? With whom? As much pleasure as one can experience? As much stuff as one can accumulate? More than one can even enjoy in one lifetime? Really?

Did Jesus have anything to say about this?
• The man who had no where to “lay his head” when it was time to sleep.
• The man who had no home to which to go.
• The man who had no pantry from which to entertain guests.

Was Jesus happy? What did He do? How did He live?
What did He say?
• If you want to gain your life you have to lose it.
• The way up is to be a servant.
• Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and
• All these things shall be added unto you.

All what things?
• Meta-needs
• Self actualization
• Life
• Liberty
• Happiness…
How do we get these things?
What did Jesus say?
What did Jesus do?
How did Jesus live?

So, take Maslow’s pyramid and erase the levels.
In the foundation, remove the basic needs and replace them with:
• “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven.”
• In the next level, place: servanthood – the life of a servant.
• In a higher level place: joy and peace and love for others.
• In the highest level place: fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit.

If “seek ye first…” is the foundation of life,
Then the promise of Jesus is that:
“All these things shall be added unto you.”
What are “all these things?”
• Only God knows.
• Only God can know.
• Only God can control.
• Only God can give grace for all these things.
• Only God has a Kingdom that can satisfy.

Be sure that God will add what you need if you seek Him first.
Jesus said so and it is so.
The schemes of the psychologists and philosophers and politicians
Are coming up empty.

Chose you this day whom you will serve
But, as for me and my house,
We will serve the LORD and
He will add “all these things” unto you.

Trust Him –
He knows and will provide for you
Today and for all tomorrows.

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