March Sermon Illustrations

March 17, 2010

True Happiness

There is an Eastern tale of a wealthy king who ruled a vast domain, lived in a magnificent palace and had a luxurious court. In spite of all his authority and power, and in spite of his extensive possessions, he was very unhappy. Among the servants in his court there was a renowned sage whose counsel the king frequently asked in times of difficulty and crisis. This sage was summoned to the king's presence. The monarch asked him how to get rid of his anxiety and depression of spirits, how he might be really happy, for he was sick in body and mind. The sage replied, 'There is but one cure for the king. Your Majesty must sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man.'

Messengers were dispatched throughout the realm to search for a man who was truly happy. But everyone who was approached had some cause for misery, something that robbed them of true and complete happiness. At last they found a man—a poor beggar—who sat smiling by the roadside and, when they asked him if he were really happy and had no sorrows, he confessed that he was a truly happy man. Then they told him what they wanted. The king must sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man, and had given them a large sum of money to procure such a shirt. Would he sell them his shirt that the king might wear it? The beggar burst into uncontrollable laughter, and replied, 'I am sorry I cannot oblige the king. I haven't a shirt on my back.'

(Eccl. 2. 3-11)

Subjects: Happiness, Satisfaction

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