Summary: You will hear people talk about this. You will hear it on TV today with TV preachers. You’ll read books about it, and you will hear it over and over and over again, and it is a message that feels very good. Here is the urban legend. It goes something
Now, I hope that you won’t miss the heart of this, because I believe with all my heart that God is a good God. Scripture says He is. Scripture says that He loves to give good gifts to His children, and with everything in me, I know that God delights in the happiness of His children, just as I. I’ve got six kids. As the father of six kids, I love when I can make my kids happy. I love it, love it, love it, love it. In fact, a buddy of mine and I took our sons … I have two sons. He has two sons. We dropped some big bucks to take our kids to the Harlem Globetrotters. Why? We wanted to make our children happy, have a good time, great boys’ day out. And so we went. I asked my kids afterwards, “Did you enjoy …” “Oh, we loved it!” I asked my six-year-old, “What did you like about it?” He said, “Everything except the basketball part,” [laughter] which was very confusing to me. I said, “Well, what did you like?” He said, “I love the part where the guy pulled down the other guy’s shorts.” That was his favorite part. I asked my three-year-old, Bookie, I said, “Bookie, what did you like about it?” He said, “Daddy, I love the cotton candy,” which really bothers me because I dropped almost $100.00 on tickets, plus the expense of the cotton candy, when I could have gotten that anywhere. But anyway, Bookie, he did. He loved the cotton candy. He became a three-year-old piece of cotton candy. It was everywhere. He was eating it off his arms. It was everywhere, and the Bookie looked at me with this very ornery look. He said, “Daddy, I think I am going to put it on that guy’s head.” Well, there was a bald headed guy right in front of us, and Bookie just went down with his cotton candy hands, and I knew it would make him happy, so I just let him do it. Of course, I didn’t do that. Yes, I want Bookie happy, but not at the expense of someone else. If it’s not the right thing, no matter how much he wants to do it, nor how happy it will make him, I don’t want him happy if it causes him to sin.
How does this play out in, let’s just say, in the church world, in the every day church world? Scripture teaches us that if you are a follower of Christ, you are a part of the body of Christ, and that means, in the local church, God has something for you to do to serve, to use your gift. In other words, if you are not serving, using your gifts in the church, then something that God wants to get done is not being done, and in our American-feel-good culture, though, what do we hear all the stinking time? “I don’t want to do anything at church. I just want to go when I want to, occasionally. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to serve, because I’ve been busy all week long. This is my time. I want to go and just, just, just be there. I don’t want to serve, because it’s all about me, and I want to be happy.”
Let’s talk about finances. Scripture teaches us that we return the tithe to God. Ten percent of what God trusts us with, it belongs to Him. We give it to Him. But, what do people say? “I’m not going to give that much money. You kidding me? That’s crazy. It’s my money. I worked hard for that. I’m not giving that much money to God. I’m going to do something with it myself, because I want to be happy.” College. Someone was in college. “This class is too hard. I don’t like college. Quit. That’d make me happy.” Maybe you are at a job you don’t like, and what do we see now? “I’m not happy in this job. It might not be that God wanted me there to make a difference in someone else’s life, or maybe God was going to do something to my life in an uncomfortable situation, but I’m not happy, so I quit.” Marriage. “They’re not making me happy, so I quit the marriage.” Dating world. Boy meets girl. Girl smells good. Boy, he says, “Urrrrrh, urrrrrrrrr ahhhhhahhhhh. God gave me these desires, and I know the Bible says I should wait until I’m married, but we are in love, anyway. And gazoom gazoom makes us happy, so I don’t care what God says. This makes me happy.” Do you see how subtle and how dangerous this is?