I am leading a group study of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. I began our study today with a question. “The key to happiness is _______. A simple, fill in the blank answer. I did get a few great answers from the class, but no one thought of my suggestion.
The key to happiness is a glass of water.
I proceeded to pour a half glass of water. As I poured, I posed another question to them, “Are you a glass is half full or a glass is half empty kind of person?” People from both persuasions participated in a show of hands. I asked the “glass is have empty” folks, “At any time did you see me empty anything out of the glass?” I had not emptied anything out. I only filled it half full.
I proposed to them that this glass of water represented a solitary persons life essence; their successes, achievements, financial well-being, family, etc. Everything valued in life.
My questioning continued…So, are we thankful for what we have (water already in the glass) or are we focused on what we don’t have (empty portion of the glass). The challenge we face is being happy and content with what we already have in our glass.
I poured water into a few more glasses. Some were filled to the brim, others appeared clearly more than half full. This batch of glasses, I said, represents a truly blessed society of peoples. The person with the half full glass, if they continually mingled with the richly blessed group, would naturally start wanting their glass to be filled more. Contentment, they believe, can only be found with more ________ . (Fill in the blank)
Next, a handful of other glasses were poured. This time the glasses received varying degrees of water, each much less than half full. Some glasses with barely enough water to cover the bottom. If, our half full glass subject mingled with the less fortunate, wouldn’t he or she be more appreciative of what they had in their glass. They may even be compelled to share some of their water it with the less fortunate. It is becoming apparent that perspective may have something to do with happiness.
To make another point I poured all the water out of each glass, including the half full one. “Which glass had the advantage now?” I asked. None of them. This, I said happens to each of us. When we die our glass is empty. Hence the opening lines of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity, Vanity all is vanity!” Where is the advantage for all our toil?
For my final point, I filled each of the empty glasses to the brim. As believers in Jesus Christ, life does not end when we die. Jesus, In John 10:10 said that he came to give us life, abundant life! This abundant life can be enjoyed in the here and now as we journey through life.
I decided to give the class a homework assignment. The next time each of you pours a glass, stop halfway and think of something that you are thankful for. Then, fill the glass the rest of the way. As you continue to pour, remember the abundant life we have in Christ.
Yes, the key to happiness can be found in a glass of water!