The Pursuit of Happiness and The Gospel

Opening Thoughts: The past two years of our lives have literally been challenge after challenge. Shortly after our eyes were miraculously opened to the biblical gospel we were briskly ushered right into 2 years of heavy fiery trials. Trials that would have permanently derailed us if it had not been for God’s grace. So it was both God’s grace that allowed us the trials and equally it was God’s grace that sustained us through them. If we had been left to ourselves Danae and I would have pursued the American dream right to our graves. We thank God every day that He did not leave us to ourselves in the Pursuit of Happiness.

Luke 12:22-31 ESV … And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Anxious About Life: When I grew up we lived on a farm and had very little money. My dad worked hard enough but made many earthly sacrifices for the sake of us kids. Many times mom and dad had no idea where the next meal would come from but God always provided. The provisions weren’t what I would have chosen if I’d had a choice because, seriously, what child loves the taste of liver? But they were God’s provisions for us. We need to be very careful though that we don’t get the fact that God will provide for us confused with how he will provide for us. My mom and dad could never afford to buy us new clothes, however the Lord provided regular bags of hand-me-downs from people who were either tired of their clothes or who had clothes that had gone out of style. The clothing that God provided for us wasn’t cool or trendy and I wouldn’t have picked it off the shelf, but it was God’s provision for us.

Oh, how we are guilty of  asking God for the things we desire, covet and lust for. Like last nights reading, the man who came to Jesus seeking help in obtaining what he felt was his fair share of his brothers inheritance. Was he really seeking Jesus? Or was he seeking what he could obtain from Jesus? Okay, if I took a poll right now I’ll bet that almost every one of you reading this has heard the passage “seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (which was at the end of our text tonight) as a stand alone verse. In most cases you likely heard it shared with this emphasis: “seek his kingdom, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU”, when in reality it should be read like this: “SEEK HIS KINGDOM, and these things will be added to you”. What we emphasize reveals what is really in our hearts. The  heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked, to place one ounce of trust in the human heart is to put your entire being at an eternal risk.

When Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t worry, He’s not telling us that we shouldn’t work. He’s telling us that our Pursuit of happiness should be found in Him. The ravens don’t store up in barns, the lily’s don’t worry about how they will grow, and we cannot add a single minute more to our lives over and above what the sovereign Lord has planned for us.

The World Seeks This: Many people treat God as their MEANS (Connection) to their END (Money), but if He is not your MEANS (provision) and your END (your only hope), then according to the scripture you don’t understand the gospel. Let’s look at the last part of our main text, “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things Instead, seek HIS kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” So in light of this passage within its context what are the things that He promises to those who are authentically His children, who seek after His kingdom? Is it wealth, health and happiness? Or is it food, drink and clothes? I think He has spelled out the answer for us.

Like Danae and I had in the past, many people in the church today tend to Christianize their love for money and so they incorporate the request for it into their prayers and ask Jesus for money blessings every chance they get; and with a wink they promise God that He’ll get His fair share if it lands in their hands. Kind of funny when you think of it, we ask God for lot’s of money so we can give Him back 10 percent? Seriously if He was that needy (in which He needed our 10 percent) why would we be asking Him for the blessing? The truth is that He owns everything and instead of asking Him for wealth we should depend on Him for our needs because He does own and control everything. Like a loving father, if He sees that we can be trusted, He may entrust us with more of it so that we can become distributors for His glory, but not so we can spend it on ourselves. With so many American churches today teaching, and subtly or blatantly preaching and teaching the prosperity gospel, it’s important that we are firmly planted in the biblical gospel of faith.

Grace & Peace, Shane Martin
Preparing The Way

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