Summary: How to be happier in an unhappy world.
INTRO.- Where is happiness to be found? I can tell you where it is not to be found. In material things.
ILL.- The last time I bought a new car was 1988. It was a Buick Skylark. Admittedly, a Buick Skylark is not the most popular or luxurious car in the world, but I liked it. It was on sale. The sticker price was $14,000 and the sale bill on the windshield read: St. Patrick’s Day special: $12,000.
I got a good trade and drove the car home. It was a two-door, sporty-looking Skylark. Burgundy color, auto, AC, power windows, power brakes and it had that new, powerful quad-four engine and was quite peppy.
I was in hog heaven driving that car. That is, until it broke down the first time with a blown head gasket. I thought that was something of a fluke until it happened a 2nd time on the way to St. Louis and had to have it towed in to a nearby garage. Fortunately, it was still under warranty, but they had it two weeks before I got it back. WHAT A HEADACHE!
Brothers and sisters, I have discovered that the joy of material things don’t last. Haven’t you? And it really doesn’t matter what it is: car, house, TV, clothes, etc.
There will always come a time when these things WILL NOT SATISFY.
Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
ILL.- Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said it very well. He wrote, “Though I can make no claim to wealth, I have tasted most of the things Americans hunger for; new cars, an attractive home, and gadgets and devices which promise to set us free. Looking at those materialistic possessions from the other side of the cash register, I can tell you that they don’t deliver the satisfaction they advertise!
“On the contrary, I have found great wisdom in the adage, ‘That which you own will eventually own you!’ How true that is. Having surrendered my hard earned dollars for a new object only obligates me to maintain and protect it; instead of its contributing to my pleasure, I must spend my precious Saturdays oiling it, mowing it, painting it, repairing it, cleaning it, or calling the Salvation Army to haul it off! The time I might have invested in worthwhile family activities is spent in slavery to a depreciating piece of junk.” This would be funny if it weren’t so true!
I think we would have to agree. There may be some satisfaction in certain material things, but none of them last nor do they bring lasting happiness.
Brothers and sisters, I wish we all could find greater happiness in this life than we have found! And some can be found! But probably not where we think! Ultimately, our happiness or greatest joy will be in heaven!
PROP- Let me list some things that we can do in the meantime to acquire greater happiness in this unhappy world. Our focus must change in order to have greater happiness in this life.
1- We must focus on eternity, not earth
2- We must focus on people, not possessions
3- We must focus on service, not self
I. WE MUST FOCUS ON ETERNITY, NOT EARTH
ILL.- Newly arrived tourist speaking to man wearing loud Hawaiian shirt.
Tourist: Do you say Hawaii or Havaii?
Shirt guy: Havaii.
Tourist: Thank you.
Shirt guy: You’re velcome.
ILL.- Have you ever visited Hawaii? Many years ago, my older brother Larry visited Hawaii. He and his wife had a luxurious hotel to stay in, great food, and they sunned on the beach daily and took life easy. My brother sent me a postcard, saying, “Man, this is the life!” To him at that time, Hawaii was pretty good living!
ILL.- My twin sister Sharon and her husband Mike just got back from a 7-day cruise in the Caribbean. She wrote me about their cruise. She said, “At Key West we took the island tour on the bus and went to an aquarium and a museum. Then we did a little shopping and got some key lime pie.
“At the Grand Caymans we took an island tour and stopped at the town of Hell (named for the rock formations) and also stopped at the Turtle Farm. There were all kinds and sizes of turtles, and we could hold one of them. We had box lunches from the ship and did a little shopping.
“At Cozumel we went to the mainland and took the bus ride and tram ride to see the Mayan Ruins, which was real interesting but hot. Then we ferried back to Cozumel and did a little shopping.”