Summary: The Beatitudes give us the keys to living a "happy, happy, happy" life. The first beatitude deals with humility.
Happy, Happy, Happy: Happy & Humble
Ask 100 people what they want out of life, and seventy-five of the 100 will say, “I just want to be happy.¨ Ask that same 100 people what it means to be happy, and ninety will say something about people, places or things. The answers would range from living in the right house to having the right job, from being loved and appreciated to feeling financially secure. Others might have to do with having the right spouse, or healthy children. We might even hear a few answers that have to do with fame and fortune, or achieving our goals in life.
Regardless of the answers we get, we are soon confronted with the reality that happiness seems so transitory, so fleeting, so circumstantial. We discover that happiness too often depends on the conditions or the people around us. Yet, there is always that moment of truth when we realize that all we have accumulated and attained, all we have accomplished and achieved has not made us happy. We find ourselves asking the question “Why am I not happy?¨
We all long to find the secret of true happiness…a happiness that withstands the ups and downs of life, the storms and trials that inevitably come our way. We want happiness that lasts, which no discouragement, no frustration, no grief, no hurricane can destroy. The more we search, the more we discover that happiness is not an exterior characteristic. Happiness is not dependent upon those circumstances of life that change so frequently. We soon discover that happiness is an inside job. Happiness begins inside us, in our hearts, and it is that kind of happiness that Jesus came to give us.
Phil Robertson, patriarch of the famed Robertson clan from Duck Dynasty, coined the phrase “Happy, happy, happy” as a description of the life he lives. The phrase even became the title of his best-selling autobiography that tells the story of his life from “romping, stomping and ripping,” to a life filled by faith, family and ducks. Phil will tell you the secret to his happiness comes from his deep-seated faith, and from his relationship with Jesus Christ.
To discover the keys to happiness that begin on the inside, we have to return to the teachings of Jesus. I find it incredibly interesting that when Jesus began his earthly ministry, when he began to teach, his first teaching is about happiness. We find those earliest teachings in Matthew 5. We know these early teachings as the Beatitudes, the beginning of Jesus’ long monologue on what his kingdom looks like. And his is a kingdom that looks much different from the one his first century hearers would recognize. It is much different from the one in which we live, too. Listen to the context Matthew sets for us, and then listen for the first key to happiness Jesus reveals in the Beatitudes. Listen again to Matthew 5:1-3:
One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.