“Wait, It Will Make You Happy!”

Erik Raymond —  April 17, 2012

Recently my wife and I were enjoying lunch at Costco (aka shamelessly filling up on the free samples) when we encountered a very interesting scenario.

A vendor was trying to get us to buy some 5-hr energy drink. He was also trying to evangelize us with his own dietary philosophy. It was interesting. As we attempted to pull away it was proving difficult. So we went with the band-aid approach and quickly pulled away. As we left he made his final plea with all of the gusto of a Southern Baptist country preacher:

It will make you happy!

That may seem like a strange plea but this guy was as sincere as his ear-to-ear smile.

You’ll never guess what happened next. Multiple people started repeating him and coming to him. It was as if he said, “I got $5 for the next 5 people who come over here.” People flocked to him because he said his product would make them happy.

This is extremely interesting to me as I try to listen to the heart cries of our community. What is their need? It is clear that it is happiness. They shamelessly repeated and responded to the message of the Costco guy.

How does the gospel intersect with this truncated narrative? Well it answers it. You know that humanity, created in the image of God, we are not able to be truly satisfied, truly happy on anything that is created. There may be a temporary buzz but it is, at the end of the day, fleeting. In fact the 5 hr energy drink is a great illustration for what the functional saviors of this world do: they cannot deliver anything lasting, it is all temporal. Created things prove to be insufficient saviors for humanity.

On the other hand we have Jesus. In Jesus Christ we have God in the flesh coming to hungry and hurting people (Jn. 6.35) and offering satisfaction and rest (Mt. 11.27-29). He claims that he can fullfill the soul that hungers and thirsts while healing the one who is laden with guilt and shame.

What is the difference between Jesus and the Costco guy? One works the other doesn’t. While the Costco guy can draw a crowd of hopeful people who are starving for happiness Jesus can actually satisfy such a crowd.

This is just another reminder of the pervasiveness of the fall and the elasticity of the gospel; Jesus truly is the Savior, the only Savior who can save and satisfy sinners like me and you.

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

4 responses to “Wait, It Will Make You Happy!”

  1. Wow, gospel moments are everywhere aren’t they? Thankful that the Lord gives you the discernment to see them and the ability to share what you see so clearly. Thankful for Jesus’ compassion for those who are “sheep without a shepherd” as well as for the compassion in his “under-shepherds”

  2. As you well know I relate most everything to music. When I first read this it reminded me of a song by Switchfoot called “Happy Is A Yuppie Word”. Happy is definitely relative. In a culture and time where lacking is minimal, we seem to be the least “happy”. What they are really searching for is contentment and that can only be found in the gospel of Christ. Thanks for the life illustration bro.

    As for the song, gotta love the lyrics to the chorus of the aforementioned song:

    Happy is a yuppie word
    Nothing in the world could fail me now
    It’s empty as an argument
    I’m running down a life that won’t cash out

    Happy is a yuppie word
    Blessed is the man who’s lost it all
    Happy is a yuppie word (word)

  3. so if we’re not happy, we need to spend more time trying to understand the gospel? is it a mind trick?

  4. They had some really good samples at Costco the other day, and my how I love it when they have a lot of good ones. My wife likes the whole Costco thing, but I just like the free samples.

    I have to tell you how much I enjoy coming to your blog Erik. I am always edified, and I learn things that our Lord wants me to learn.

    Excellent thoughts my good friend and pastor. Gracias!

    Have a terrific day in our Lord’s awesome love.