Summary: A BIG QUESTION - Does happiness really exist? In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus explained that happiness does indeed exist. He even went so far as to clearly show us where it is to be found...And how to get there.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
"Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.
"Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets." Luke 6:17-26 (NRSVA)
As Jesus looked out over the crowd on the hillside he saw in the faces of, perhaps thousands, the expectant hope of one individual and corporate need; every one of them wanted happiness. No matter whom – every man, woman and child was after happiness in one form or another.
• The affluent were craving some kind of fulfillment their money couldn’t buy; the poor were looking to get rich.
• The blind wondered why they couldn’t see; the sighted were unhappy with all their eyes could see.
• The old longed for the days when young bones didn’t ache so much, and the young were fighting the "system" they figured was designed and run by the old.
Every age and arena of life has its dissatisfactions. The preacher of Ecclesiastes had nailed it: "All is vanity."
And are we really any different today? Some roles have switched....The old now fight the "system" (especially in America where we idolize youth); the affluent begrudge the welfare mother who just can’t seem to make it on $200 a week. Women demand a larger share of the power.
ALL IN THE NAME OF…
"GETTING MY SHARE OF HAPPINESS"
And in answer to the crowd’s expectant looks Jesus said, Blessed are you poor, the Kingdom of Heaven is yours. It is reported that Abraham Lincoln was seen carrying two of his young sons down the sidewalk. They were hollering at the top of their decibel-producing capacity. A friend saw Abe and asked why all the fuss? What’s the matter? Lincoln hollered back across the street, What’s the matter with the whole world... I’ve got three walnuts, and two boys here.
We seem to push from day to day, event to event, seeking just the right experience, a new way, a better balance....And, just over that hilltop there will be Oz, and we’ll live happily ever after! Only it doesn’t work that way, does it? With all our searching, striving, planning and diligence, the yellow-brick road just goes on and on; it is the treadmill to nowhere.