A recently completed University of Chicago study sought to determine the link between happy people and their jobs. According to the study, the number one top occupation in general happiness was “clergy.” Now, I only get mail and phone calls for “Reverend Stanglin” occasionally and I’ve been called a “priest” only once. But I’m identifying with the “clergy” label here because of the official job description: “conduct religious worship and perform spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination.”
People in the clergy, according to this study, are the happiest. 67.2% of them say they’re “very happy.”
That’s compared to 57.2% of firefighters and 56.5% of travel agents, numbers two and three on the list. The rest of the list, in order from number four through ten are architects (Kevin H!!), special education teachers, actors, science technicians, mechanics, industrial engineers, and airline pilots.
Surprised? I would have been three years ago. But not now.
Preaching is the most difficult and most challenging work I’ve ever done. But it’s also easily the most rewarding. Easily. Yes, there are issues and misunderstandings. There are distasteful politics and misplaced priorities. There are problems. And there’s that whole “burden of the churches” thing. There are frequent periods of self-doubt and unrelenting feelings of inadequacy. And I think sometimes I am wholly unequal to the task.
But I do get to see up close, every single day, what our great God is doing in his world. I get to be on the inside of how he’s redeeming people, rescuing people, and comforting people. I see what happens in hospital rooms and funeral home offices. I’m there when the lightbulbs go off and people experience the grace of our Lord for the first time. I get glimpses of the eternal glory that’s waiting for us, praying with a young engaged couple in my office or with the elders on a Thursday night. I speak to God on behalf of this place. And he answers. He’s changing people here. And I get to see it. He puts people in my life to challenge me and encourage me and push me and keep me on the right track. And he works through me to bring hope and compassion to people who need it most.
Can’t you see how amazing that is? How humbling? How incredible to know I’m partnering with the Creator of the Universe? To know I’m a co-worker with him in redeeming the world? It’s huge!
And it makes me happy.
Today the Dallas Cowboys are in last place in their division, the Dallas Mavericks are in last place in their division, and the Dallas Stars are in last place in their division. The Texas Rangers finished second in their division this past season. But they were 21 games behind the Angels. The other 5 second place teams in Major League Baseball’s other divisions were a combined 14-1/2 games back. I guess DFW might become a college sports town yet!
Mark R, one of our “KK&C Top 20” pollsters emailed me this morning, lamenting the fact that Texas Tech is #1 in this week’s college football poll. He writes that the Red Raiders being top ranked is “…just wrong. Lubbock’s only claim to fame is Mac Davis. And he only made it to the top with ‘Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me.’ Get it? Don’t get used to being at the top. Hooked? As in ‘Hook ’em?’ After the OU game, I suggest we just sit back and enjoy another one of his hits, ‘Lubbock Texas In My Rearview Mirror.'”
“Hang on just a cotton-pickin’ second! You’re leaving out THE Lubbock, Texas icon: the great inimitable Buddy Holly. But the Red Raiders’ actual national championship hopes still have a tie in to this legend’s greatest hits: ‘That’ll Be The Day’ and ‘Fade Away.'”