By Pastor RAUL GRANILLO
Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” I dare say most of us can relate to that. As I put more years behind me, I find that I appreciate what I have more than I used to and that I make a greater attempt to enjoy those things I do have before I lose them.
The romantic love that caused me to pursue my wife, the moments that my kids want to hang out, the ability to comfort friends; all these things mean more to me now than they used to and as such they also make me happier. But I also know, like the rest of the world, that these things are temporary. Whether you believe in God or not, most all people agree that this life is temporary and that all the “things” we have will one day be gone.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares what we call the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). He makes statements such as, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” and so on and so forth. These statements are directed to the one whose life is given over to God—the believer. They are blessed because God is working in and through them. And to them, in every scenario, God promises that they will one day receive what they truly seek in full.
It is after He makes all these statements that He finally says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12a NIV). Jesus tells those who believe that they can be happy, they are to rejoice because they look to the bigger things, to the final goal, to that time when we will be genuinely human in His presence. By this faith we can secure our eternal happiness knowing that it is in something that will not perish or fade away. However, as I read the Beatitudes, I couldn’t help but consider that there is another aspect of happiness to be found here as well.
The “blessed,” the person whom God works in and through, is characterized by these passages. They are poor in spirit—that is they are humble and do not act proud; the mourner—the one who feels the pains of real loss; the meek—the one who has power under control; the hungry for righteousness—the one who seeks to be more Christlike; the merciful—the one who gives of himself when he doesn’t have to; the pure in heart—those who seek the gifts of God for others; the peacemakers—those who sacrifice for lasting relationships; and finally, those who are persecuted for righteousness—those whose love for others is greater than their fear of the world.
Be happy in these things, Jesus said; yes, because you seek something greater, but also because it means that you are reflecting the image of God into this world out of love for the Creator and our fellow man. Maybe part of enjoying what we have, at least for the Christian, should mean finding happiness in our ability to bring happiness to others. Be real, love genuinely and happiness will always be found.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9AM for Sunday school and 10AM for worship. Everyone is welcome!