Cost Analysis

Remember when we used to take prayer requests in church – out loud?

Maybe you’re in a church that’s still small enough to do that. It’s been years since we have. Now, prayer requests are turned in via “Communication Cards”, then shared weekly via the “Prayer Sheet.” It’s efficient and I like it better – most of the time.

But I’ve noticed that it’s cut out an old favorite from the “Does anyone have a Testimony or a Prayer Request?” days. The unspoken prayer request. Someone always had one. And that invariably led to the pastor saying, “Does anyone else have an unspoken prayer request? Just raise your hand.”

We all knew that meant there was something serious, but personal, that you were praying about.

Tonight, my hand’s up. Can’t talk about it. Definitely can’t blog about it. I can only tell you it’s not about me or my family, it’s not deadly, but it is serious.

And it led me to this thought – happiness is expensive.

Many of our prayer requests have a similar goal – our own personal happiness. But that leads me to ask:
– in what areas of your life would you like to be happy?
– in what areas of your life could you be less than happy?
– how happy would you like to be?
– how will you know when you are genuinely happy?
– how long would you like to be happy?
– can anyone else be happy along with you, or is it only you that can be happy?

You can’t make everyone happy.

But it’s pretty easy to hurt a large number of people.

I’ve done that.

Sacrifice = personal pain + relational gain.
Selfishness = personal gain + relational pain.

What I’m trying to say is that the more I’ve acted like Jesus – in being selfless and sacrificing – it usually was pretty painful for me personally, but it improved my relationships 100%. Not just the relationships I cared about – ALL my relationships.

On the other hand, every time I’m selfish and focus on my own wants and desires – which is quite frequently – I’m able to achieve personal happiness, but my relationships suffer. Not just the relationships I don’t care about – ALL my relationships.

Trying to create my own happiness is a fairly expensive deal, usually exacting a very high relational price.

So, anyway, I’m praying, hopeful that this will end up like an unspoken prayer request did for a girl in our youth group many years ago, when she said, “I’ve got an unspoken praise report!”