A focus group called Western Culture Global says this about western culture's values "Western culture holds that the attainment of one's own worldly happiness should be the focus of each person's life."
Put differently, Western culture holds that worldly happiness is, in the words of Aristotle, “the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing... the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
What does that mean?
-To be truly great, be truly happy
-Do whatever I have to to be happy.
-Marry whoever for however long or short as long as I'm happy
-Do whatever, go wherever, watch whatever, hurt whomever, as long as I'm happy.
-In other words, I am the center of my universe.
This may be the natural way, but is it the best way? Is it God's way? We see an entirely different approach through Jesus. He modeled the idea that we don't ascend to greatness, but descend to it. It was as counter cultural then as it is now.
Pursuit of happiness points my attention to me. Pursuit of service points my attention to others.
Common thought says greatness is stepping on whoever you have to get to the top.
Jesus says that greatness is helping others to get to the top. Jesus taught that if your brother is in need and you don't help, your faith is dead, worthless.
In that culture, the lowest handmaid would wash the feet of guests, yet the one that holds the universe held a towel to clean the crusty feet of the disciples. Then, he turns to his followers and says "do the same."
So what does that look like in your world? How do you tangibly serve your family, co-workers, customers or friends? We will quickly sacrifice for personal happiness but will you sacrifice to serve? That's our model to follow.