Summary: Who doesn't want to be happy! Strength of character that derives from a close relationship with God in Christ motivates mature Christians to realize the full potential of the new life in Christ God has given us.
PRESCRIPTION FOR HAPPINESS
The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12
Everybody I know wants to be happy. However, it appears to me that some folks may not understand what true happiness is.
There are those, for example, who seem to think that lots of money would make them happy; yet, some of the wealthiest people in the world have said that fortune brought misery to their lives.
Others seem to think that if they could just be famous, they would be happy; yet, many famous folks come to the end of their way feeling unhappy due to loneliness and sadness.
Neither fame nor fortune brings true happiness to any individual. This is as true today as it was when Jesus preached a sermon about happiness during his ministry on this earth.
Times have changed, but the search for happiness is still one of our top priorities.
Perhaps we would do well to adopt as one of our main goals in life: To be happy and to make other happy.
One of the memories that I cherish of my father-in-law is the note that he wrote to himself and taped on the mirror into which he looked every morning when he shaved.
The note read:
Go to nursing home
Make people happy.”
Whether in a nursing home or not, we all want to be happy. We want to wake up each morning with a reason for living yet another day . . . with an inward feeling of assurance that life is worthwhile . . . with no thought as to whether or not our needs are going to be met that day . . . with as bright an outlook on life as possible . . . with the hope that someone who needs a word of encouragement will cross our path that day; so, “Lord, help me to encourage someone today.”
My father-in-law discovered happiness by making others happy. He could not make people happy by giving them money; nor could he make them happy by offering them fame. He did so simply by going where there was a need for encouragement. Oftentimes all he had to offer was a smile, a handshake, or a pat on the back, without saying a word. His actions spoke, as if to say, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee.”
When Jesus saw a multitude of people searching for happiness, he had pity on them – and then, “He went up on a mountainside and sat down, and he began to teach them.”
“How to be Happy” was the theme of the first lesson Jesus taught in His “Sermon on the Mount”. Here was the Great Physician, taking time to sit down with those longing for a happy life, giving them a prescription consisting of eight components of the blessing of happiness.
Think of these eight components as noted minister-author Robert Schuler and my long-time friend Harmon Born, along with other respected servants of God have suggested: BE Attitudes – the person God wants me (us) to BE.
When a medical doctor prescribes an antibiotic, the patient is advised to take the entire dosage over a period of time in order to realize the full benefit of the prescription.
Jesus our Great Physician advises those who desire true happiness to incorporate all eight BE Attitudes into daily life if they (we) want to benefit fully from God’s Prescription for Happiness. Amen.
PRESCRIPTION FOR HAPPINESS SERMON III: BE MEEK
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
It should come as no surprise to you that most folks tend to shy away from the notion that it is a good thing to be meek. Perhaps this is so because the word rhymes with weak. Believe me, in no way is meek associated with weak. Meekness is not weakness!
Even Webster’s dictionary misses the biblical meaning of the word. Look it up in a modern dictionary and you find this definition: “patient and mild; not inclined to anger or resentment; too submissive; spineless.”
So, if you took Webster’s word for it, you would have to read the third beatitude this way: “Happy is the person who is patient and mild, never gets angry, abstains from resentment, and is so submissive that he is spineless. This is the kind of person who will inherit the earth.”
Does anyone really think that a spineless individual would stand a chance of getting anywhere in life, let alone “inherit the earth” – whatever that means?
Actually, when Jesus gave this beatitude, He was quoting from the Old Testament – Psalm 37:11 – “But the meek shall inherit the earth and enjoy great peace” – and to whom was that original quote attributed? Remember David?
Would you agree that there is no way that David – the shepherd lad who slew Goliath the giant with a sling shot – could be considered spineless?