Links Daily Devotional

Are You Happy?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3, NIV)

I have spent time around almost all the great players since the 1980s, on and off the golf course. I have seen many of them interact with their families, fans, and fellow tour players, and there is one thing that I have noticed: many of the really successful players aren’t very happy.

Some of the happiest players on tour are actually the guys who Monday qualify or don’t have any exempt status. Those guys are happy to be out there playing golf on a great course, in front of a gallery, against the best in the world for prize money. The guys you have never heard of are usually elated to have a courtesy car for the week, regardless the make and model; the free breakfast and lunch buffets waiting for them in the Player/Family Dining area don’t even have to be hot; and the equipment trailer staffed with guys ready to fix them up with the newest model drive—well, that’s just awesome!

It really is incredible how well the guys out on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour are treated, so it amazes me how many bad attitudes I see out there. And it is often the most successful professionals who are the most miserable to be around… or is it?

I used to really get hung up in the opening of Jesus’ most famous sermon, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). In this part, referred to as “The Beatitudes,” Jesus told his audience who the blessed ones are. For nearly all the characteristics, those that are “blessed” represent nothing I’ve ever been taught by culture to be. For instance, you’ll never hear a dad tell his son before he goes out onto the football field or basketball court, “Son, be meek out there!”

It wasn’t until I learned that the Greek word that the Gospel writer quoted Jesus using for “blessed” (makários) actually means “fortunate or happy” that I realized Jesus’ most famous sermon was built upon his knowledge of what actually makes you and me happy and content.

Have you ever thought that Jesus’ greatest desire for you is to be happy? Or have you been made to believe that God doesn’t really want you to be happy; he just wants you to be holy?

Well, I hate to break it to you, but your Creator and Savior wants you to be really happy (insert your favorite emoticon). So let me tell you the first way he sees you being happy according to his famous sermon. Jesus said, “[Happy] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Though my natural tendency is not to pursue being “poor in spirit,” when I think of the guys on tour who are usually happiest, maybe I can start to understand it.

Jesus knew something that you and I are struggling to accept. He knew that happiness is not found in some-thing; rather, happiness is found in some-one. Happiness is found in trust in the Lord. You see, those who are “poor in spirit” recognize complete dependence on God regardless of how much they have, and they are happy because of him. When you put your trust in “riches” instead of “the God who richly provides,” you will always be unhappy in your possessions. I know this because you still want more, bigger, or newer. What you have isn’t ever enough, and it is not making you happy.

There is nothing wrong with your things. It is just that no “thing” will every make you truly happy. So make sure your pursuit of happiness is about pursuing a relationship with the giver of real fortune and happiness, Jehovah-jireh (“God will provide”).

Josh Nelson
August 26, 2015
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