Quantify Feelings

Quantify Feelings

Published November 6, 2019

The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/November 6, 2019

Just these lines, my friends …

… to say what a special Sunday: celebrating the Saints, our music in all services, the actions of Holy Communion, an additional hour of sleep, preparing for November 17, and Pastor John with Kidron Valley Ministries in Uganda. You can watch a short video here (or click on the video image below) of the work and ministry occurring in Africa. If you missed Sunday, November 10, worship, you can watch here.

And what a powerful week that culminated for me on Wednesday with participation in the 30th anniversary of the start-up of our very own Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity (GMHFH) affiliate. In celebrating 30 years, several of our very own were honored: Laurie Little for being one of the founders of GMHFH, Stuart Rose for being the first GMHFH Board Chair, and Ralph Messera and Neal Miller for their ongoing work in providing homes for families through GMHFH. You can watch the short film below that was shown as a part of the GMHFH celebration.

Here are a few things I learned at the Habitat celebration.

  • Did you know that having a place a family calls home is critical to their well-being … physically, mentally, economically and developmentally?
  • Did you know that quality housing – housing that is safe, healthy and affordable – is the foundation for individuals and families?
  • Did you know that GMHFH is the ONLY entity currently building affordable housing in Matthews?
  • Did you know over 11,600 households live in Matthews, and over 3,000 of those households live in poverty, near poverty or are considered “house poor” because they are spending more than 30% of their incomes on a place to live?

Thanks be to God for Natisha Rivera-Patrick (Executive Director of GMHFH), her staff and the many volunteers who are stepping up to serve and provide affordable housing in Matthews.

Can You Quantify Feelings with a Dollars Sign?

A few years ago, my daughter MacKenzie asked me to describe my happiest memories. I responded with some of the more obvious answers: the moments she and her siblings were born, the day I married her mother, the night I was ordained a minister. MacKenzie agreed that those were good memories and was satisfied by my answers.

But what if she had asked me to assign a monetary value to those events, with a question like, “Dad, what was the dollar amount of those happy memories?” In other words, how much money would I have to get in order to feel as happy as any of those events? $5,000? $10,000? More?

Wouldn’t that seem like an odd question? But that’s the one posed by an Australian professor named Paul Frijters, who back in 2009 published the results of a surprising eight-year study. After surveying 10,000 people, he developed dollar values for the emotional effects of events such as marriage, childbirth, divorce, and home purchases. Positive dollar amounts indicated “psychic benefits,” and negative dollar amounts showed “psychic costs.”

The study concluded:

  • A man getting married feels like he just received $32,000. To women, it only feels like $16,000.
  • Divorce feels like an $110,000 loss to a man, but only $9,000 to a woman.
  • The death of a spouse or a child feels like minus $130,900 to a woman, and a whopping $627,300 deficit to a man.
  • And moving into a new home? A positive $2,600 for a woman, and a negative $16,000 to a man.

Crazy, right? Frijters suggested that the study’s value might assist insurance companies and lawyers in assigning dollar compensations for certain life events.

He summarized his study with this statement: “Losing or gaining money can offset the effect of other life events quite well, and that is what we are formally looking at — the amount needed to offset an event or keep someone happiness-neutral.”  I don’t know about you, but the word crazy comes to mind.

You know as well as I do: you cannot quantify your feelings with dollar signs, and you cannot put a price tag on life’s most significant moments. Yet that is precisely the subversive myth pervading our airwaves, advertisements, and innermost drives to accumulate more material possessions.

The only solution to this kind of wayward thinking is to align our finances around the biblical principles of generosity and gratitude. It’s captured in Jesus’ words to his disciples: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

On Sunday, November 17 (our Joash Chest Sunday), in all our worship hours we will have an opportunity to set our treasure right where it belongs…in the hands of the God who grants us joy, peace, and an abundant life that no dollar sign can define.

Let’s get our priorities straight and experience true joy, through contentment, generosity and gratitude.

The Gratitude Challenge

We are learning these days that expressing gratitude and saying “thank you” is essential to being Easter people.  Max DePree is a former CEO of the Herman Miller Company and best-selling author. He writes, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must serve.”

Now I intellectually know the importance of gratitude, but I can still struggle in this area.  Sometimes I get too busy. In the speed of life I can forget, get distracted or simply let good intentions go unaddressed.

To be honest, I sometimes see the weed of entitlement growing in me. The weed grows when we believe we “deserve” or are “due.”  It usually grows the fastest when we are working the hardest. And the consequence of this weed is that we don’t actually receive the gifts given by God and others. Instead, we begin to simply expect more.

The good news is that today is a new day. We can choose to say “thank you” to God and to others.

So … what could gratitude look like for you today? Well, it might begin with your participating in our Gratitude Challenge. It all began October 30, but you could start today by writing a note of gratitude every day until Thanksgiving Day, November 28.

Here are a few ideas for this week:

  • Thank a person who helped or encouraged you when you were ill or not feeling well.
  • Pay tribute to someone who helped you dream big by sending her/him a note.
  • Thank an individual who helped you deal with change.

Some Gratitude Bible verses:

  • Psalm 100:4 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
  • Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Some Gratitude Quotes

  • William Arthur Ward – “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
  • M.J. Ryan – “Whenever we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up by the feeling of joy.” 

An Important Announcement about our 9:30 Worship Hour

We are excited to announce that our own Jill Willis has been named Worship Leader for our 9:30 Contemporary Worship Experience.  Jill has served on staff for three and a half years, and brings over seven years of experience as a Worship Leader from her former church in High Point. She will continue her leadership with Children & Youth Choirs and Music & Arts Camp. Alongside John Biggers and the entire Praise Team, Jill is in passionate pursuit of refreshing, God-honoring worship experiences for the 9:30 Contemporary Worship Service.

Jill would love to talk with anyone who enjoys singing, playing an instrument, or serving in a technical or production capacity about becoming a part of the 9:30 worship team. If interested, please send call the Church Office.

Please be sure to help welcome Jill in her new role when you see her walking the hallways of our transforming community!

Upcoming Dates

If you will, please consider putting an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming dates:

  • Early Registration for Women’s Retreat: Secure the best price that will be offered by November 13! Register here to spend intentional time with God while being renewed and refreshed among new and existing friends.
  • Operation Christmas Child (OCC): Have you picked up your box to fill? All OCC boxes are to be returned by November 17. The boxes are being distributed in The Commons, the Children’s Area, the Welcome Center and the Church Office.
  • Joash Chest Sunday, November 17: This is our annual Sunday for our families to make their financial commitments for 2020. These are some of the holiest moments we share each year. I love watching you stream forward to make your commitments.
  • 2nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Worship, Sunday, November 24, 6 pm, Matthews Presbyterian Church: Please join us for a beautiful evening of Thanksgiving worship with our friends from Matthews Presbyterian, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Matthews.
  • Advent Begins, Sunday, December 1: Our worship series this year, Count Your Blessings, will continue our gratitude theme right through the end of the year.

This Sunday (November 10) in Worship

On Sunday we continue on the Gratitude Path. A part of our celebration will  be the recognition of the remarkable women and men in our midst who have served their country through the armed forces. In addition, at 9:30 am in the Gym will be Deep Family Worship where the children will bring their Commitment Cards forward at the end of the service.

I hope to see you on Sunday at that transforming fellowship where we are always working on gratitude.

I’m Choosing Gratitude,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that our Matthews United Methodist Boy Scouts have been doing road clean-up on Sam Newell Road for the last 30 years? Their responsibility is between Kristopher’s and the Boulevard. Thank you, Scouts!

Did you know that our Handyman Ministry (led by Joe Culpepper) is working on its third project with our friends from Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church?

Did you know that the Delia Lemmond Circle delivered two carloads of clothes and accessories to Changed Choices?  These items were collected for young women to wear for job interviews.