Summary: Most people want some happiness in life but do they find it? Not where they might think.
INTRO.- Why would I preach about seeking happiness? Because I think this is a goal that most people have in life. Most people would like to have a certain amount of happiness in life and they go looking for it in all kinds of ways but they don’t always find it.
Haven’t you noticed? The world goes at things backwards.
ILL.- Tiger is on top and Lance Armstrong is strong-arming the competition. The sports world is excited about Tiger Woods win at the 134th British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland. And most Americans are excited that Lance Armstrong is on track to win his 7th straight Tour de France, a record which no one has ever done before and no one is likely to match for many years to come.
These are well and good. I’m happy for Tiger (and wish that he was a member of our church) and I’ll be happy for Lance if he wins the Tour de France even though he is an agnostic and doesn’t believe in the Lord.
The world focuses on successes, not losses. The world’s idea of happiness is found in success, money, fame, etc.
ILL.- Someone wrote, “If you have money, people want to give you more. If you’re rich and famous, people love to give things to you. If you’re rich and influential, corporate boards invite you to join them. There you can make lots of money just by attending meetings and giving your opinion on the direction of the company you know nothing about.
“While CEOs take home millions of dollars even when their companies perform poorly, the lowest-paid workers are the first to be laid off in bad economic times. The average CEO still earns 728 times the salary of the average worker.
“There’s nothing wrong with people making lots of money, but the problem is that our society has convinced us that wealth alone equals success. We value people solely because of their checkbooks, regardless of what they did, or did not do, to make their money. Somehow we came to believe that rich people are better, smarter, more attractive and more successful than everyone else.
“We give tax cuts to billionaires but lectures to low-wage workers. We complain when our co-workers make a few dollars more than us but rarely object when our CEOs collect millions in salary while they bankrupt our companies. We idolize the rich and despise the poor.”
Brothers and sisters, these things just don’t make good sense, but that’s the way of the world. However, God’s program is different and if we want to find any happiness at all in this crazy world then we must adopt His program and His ways. Our focus must be different than that of most people.
PROP.- Again, if we are going to find any happiness in this life at all our focus must change.
1- We must focus on the positives, not the negatives
2- We must focus on praising, not griping
3- We must focus on giving, not getting
I. WE MUST FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES, NOT THE NEGATIVES
Phil. 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
Paul is saying that we should focus on the good things of this life and the positive things of this life. The more we look at negative, the worse we are going to feel.
ILL.- Max Lucado tells the story about flying on a plane one time with a certain lady. He said, "She sat in 14E and I sat in 14D. She was rural and I was urban. She was homey and I was professional. But she could see and I was blind.
"I groaned. I had a bad attitude. My week had been hectic. The plane was late and overbooked. I had a toothache and had left the tooth medicine at the hotel. I wanted to sleep, but I had work to do. And now I was sitting next to Gomer Pyle’s mother.
"‘Oooh, boy, look at that one!’ She pointed at the plane ahead of us on the runway. ‘Is this one that big?’ ‘Yes,’ I hoped my brief response would show her that I wasn’t up for chitchat. It didn’t. ‘I’m hoping to see my boy in Dallas. Do you ever go to Dallas? I hope he’s OK. He had a stomach flu last week. He’s got a new dog. I can’t want to see it. It’s a Labrador. Do you know what that is? They are big and lovable...’
"She was uncanny. Not only could she add a syllable to every word, she could answer her own questions. As we were taking off, however, she got quiet. For several moments she said nothing. Then she suddenly let out a sound that would have called the pigs for dinner. ‘Oooooeeee, those trees down there look like peat moss!’ People around us stared like I was E. F. Hutton.