Years ago I heard a saying that I thought was profound. It was, “Live simply that others may simply live.” I assumed that it meant that we should live off the land rather than be materialistic. As an unkempt hippy, that appealed to me. But one day I learned about real life, and how an economy works. If I live simply and don’t use modern conveniences like ovens, refrigerators, washing machines, cars, etc., I don’t spend money. If I don’t spend money, businesses don’t sell their goods, and people lose their jobs. So if we really care about other people, we should spend our money, stimulate the economy, and provide employment so that people can feed their families. “The biblical mandate for Christians is to be an optimist, based on God’s ability to work all things out for our good ” Share on twitter Share on facebook Another saying that I began to doubt as I grew older was that optimists were happier than pessimists. This is because the pessimist is consistently either proven right or he is delightfully surprised. I’m heading for an intersection in my car, and as an optimist I say to myself that I’m going to make it through the green light. If it turns red, I’m disappointed. But as a pessimist heads for the intersection, he thinks negatively and says that it will turn red for sure. If it does turn red, he was right and has a sense of satisfaction knowing that. But if it turns green, he’s delightfully surprised even though he was wrong and drives through with great joy. So in this case, the pessimist comes out happier than the optimist in either scenario. But the biblical mandate for Christians is to be an optimist, based on God’s ability to work all things out for our good (see Romans 8:28). There are giants in the land, but a faith-filled optimism based on the integrity of God to keep His promises sees them as grasshoppers. There is, however, a foolproof way to ensure our happiness at the intersection. It is to have inside information as to what the traffic light is going to do. If Sue and I want to watch our favorite rugby team, we don’t watch the game unless we know the outcome. While some would never do that because not knowing the outcome gives a sense of excitement, we think differently. If we watch a delayed game and know the score, we watch without stress, knowing that we will win no matter what. We like that peaceful feeling better than the stress of not knowing. So it is with our Christian faith. We have inside information. And that knowledge gives us great peace without stress because we know that we win.