Happiness Is!

Imagine you are 100 years old and your great, great granddaughter or great, great grandson asks you, “grandma, grandpa what made you happy in life?” What will you say?

So what makes you happy? Happiness means different things to different people.

One man asked his wife what she wanted for Christmas. She told him “Nothing would make me happier than a diamond necklace” So he bought her nothing.

A lady once said, “My boss told me to have a good day. So I went home.”

A young Millennial just getting started in life once said, “I know money cannot buy you happiness, but I’d still feel a lot more comfortable crying in a new BMW than on a bike.”

The one thing most studies on happiness agree on is this: family and relationships are the surest way to happiness. Close behind are meaningful work, positive thinking, and the ability to forgive. What does not seem to make people happy are money, material possessions, intelligence, education, age, or attractiveness.

I Googled, “what makes people happy?” and got a list of 31 things researchers have found. Here are just a few:

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Stop and smell the roses.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Spend Time Outside.
  5. Pursue Meaningful Goals.
  6. Spend time with friends and family.
  7. Celebrate other’s successes.
  8. Have deep conversations.
  9. Let go of materialism.
  10. Practice gratitude.
  11. Forgive.
  12. Spend time with furry friends.

After a lifetime of seeking happiness and doing some research for this sermon, I have come to the conclusion that there are only three things that can truly make you happy. Can you guess what they are? Here they are:

1). Knowing What Jesus Said.
2). Doing What Jesus Said.
3). Sharing What Jesus Said.

So, I want to briefly share with you what these three thing mean to me. First is:

1). Knowing What Jesus Said.

Lets have a little quiz. What did Jesus say? Do we actually know what Jesus said? Do you remember the TV gig by Jay Leon called JayWalking? Here are some of the the questions he asked people on the street and their responses.
How many years ago did Jesus live? 250 Million!
How many wise men were there? – 12!
How many Apostles were there? 40!
Who found the burning bush? Nixon!
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s? Car!
So my question today is, do we really know what Jesus said?

So let’s talk about Jesus for a little while. In the book of Matthew Jesus gave five discourses and so we can divide that book into five sections. The most famous of those discourses is known as the Sermon on the Mount? The key word in that sermon is “Blessed” which means happy. Did you ever stop to think that Jesus’ most famous sermon was on the topic of happiness? Why do you think Jesus would pick that topic?

Now what did Jesus say about happiness?

Happy are the poor in spirit.
Happy are those who mourn.
Happy are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Happy are those who thirst for righteousness.
In all Jesus said eight things about happiness. Do you know what they are? To know this is to be happy!

In the Gospel of John Jesus gave his “I Am” statements. There are seven. How many can you name?

I am the bread of life.
I am the light of the world.
I am the Door.
I am the Good Shepherd.
I am The Resurrection and the Life.
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
I am the Vine.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, you must be born again.
Jesus said, “any one can love their friends but you should love your enemies.”

Jesus said, “this is how to pray, Our Father who art in heaven, etc.”

Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself.” John 14.

So if you know and (believe) what Jesus said you will be happy!!

But there is more! Secondly, happiness is:
2). Doing What Jesus Said.

Driving along a busy street, a man became aware of an impatient woman who was tailgating him. She was so close that when he had to brake to allow some children to use a pedestrian crossing, she almost crashed into him. Furious at being delayed, she sounded her horn and began waving her fists in a disgraceful exhibition of a road rage.

Before she could move off, she felt a tap on her window. It was a police officer who ordered her to step out of the car. He then asked her to come down to the station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and put in a cell. A couple of hours later, after vehicle checks had been carried out, she was told that she could collect her valuables and that she was being released without charge. The woman was extremely indignant at her arrest and demanded an apology.The officer responsible explained the reason for the mistake. “You see, madam, I pulled up behind your car while you’re sounding your horn and loudly cursing the driver in front of you. Then I noticed the ‘Follow Jesus, Not Me’ sticker on the rear window, the ‘God Is Love’ sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the boot. Naturally, I assumed that you had stolen the car…”

Someone has said, “Happiness isn’t determined by your looks, the car you drive, the money you earn, or the clothes you wear. Instead, happiness is determined by your behavior – your thoughts and actions. In other words, happiness is determined by your habits.”

A.W. Tozer once said that people who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:

  1. They are facing only one direction,
  2. They can never turn back, and
    1. They no longer have plans of their own.

The old saying, “practice what you preach” actually is in the Bible. The saying is found in Matthew 23:3 and reads: “So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.”

Someone once said, “lead by example. Practice what you preach or don’t preach at all. Walk the talk. People watch what you do more than they listen to what you say. Inspire, challenge and encourage people to do their best, by doing your best.”

So happiness is doing what Jesus says.

And third, happiness is:

3). Sharing What Jesus Said.

It has been said that, “Happiness is only real when it is shared.”

Wednesday night of this past week I was sitting in my study at home when the telephone rang. The lady on the other end of the line said, “Pastor Dale this is Gwen Hammond. Thank you for all you did for me.” Her call came out of the blue unexpectedly! I was surprised and delighted and replied, “Mrs. Hammond it’s sure good to hear from you.”

Now there is a story behind this. On November 11, 2018 I was sitting in my home study on another occasion when the telephone rang. A nurse from Akron City hospital called me and said, “pastor Dale Turner, I have been trying to reach a pastor in the Akron area who would be willing to visit a lady named Gwen Hammond at City hospital who is in the last stages of her life. Her family has requested that a pastor come and pray with her and I can’t find any pastor. Would you be willing to come and pray with her?”

Now perhaps you know that I believe very much in the power of prayer. So I said I’ll be right there. I arrived at City hospital about a half hour later to find a lady in a coma looking very thin and in the last stages of her life. Her nurse said, “thank you for coming pastor. Let me call her family.” Almost instantly I was surrounded by 20 people, members of her family. They said, “pastor will you please pray for our mom.” I replied, “I would be happy to.” Moving closer to her bed I laid my hand on her hand as her family joined hands around us laying their hands on my shoulders. I began to pray asking Jesus, the great physician, to touch her, comfort her and heal her.

We had a little prayer meeting that night in the hospital. Gwen did not open her eyes or acknowledge my presence in any way. After about a half hour I gave Gwen’s daughter my calling card and said, “call me if you need me. God bless you!” A half hour later when I return home, my telephone rang and Gwen’s daughter said, “pastor Dale, my mother opened her eyes for the first time five minutes after you left.” I was shocked and encouraged. I never heard back from the family until last Wednesday, a year and a half later. But I was so delighted to hear from the lady herself this past Wednesday. She called to tell me that five minutes after I left her bedside a year and a half ago she immediately came out of her coma and was healed and is doing well to this day. She exclaimed with joy, “God is good”, to which I responded “all the time!”

We never know when the opportunity will come for us to share Jesus by praying with someone, sending a “thinking of you card”, or inviting someone to church.

Let me ask you, “When was the last time you shared Jesus with someone?

So, let us remember that true happiness is:

1). Knowing What Jesus Said.
2). Doing What Jesus Said.
3). Sharing What Jesus Said.
Amen.