Matthew 6: 33 RSV
1. There might be a question in your mind about the worthiness of setting the goal that the family be happy,
a. Happiness is certainly not the goal of the gospel for our lives. Obedience to God must always take precedence over "the fleeting pleasures of sin" (Heb. 11:25).
b. But if we define happiness as a sense of well-being, of contentment, of joyful purpose in living, then happiness is, at least, what most people are looking for in life.
2. In this passage before us, Jesus has not dismissed that need as a superficial desire, but here He focuses on how an individual and a family can find true happiness. We don't have to be anxious about life ... although we often are (verses 25, 27-28, 31, 34).
3. There is a way to find happiness in the midst of our living! And Jesus wants us to find it. But first we need to recognize that we can miss happiness in a frantic effort to gain it for our family.
I. Ways We Miss Having a Happy Family
1. We miss having a happy family when we are never satisfied with what we have.
a. It is fine to be people of vision and anticipate the future, but don't miss the taste of now and the colors of the present moment.
(1) Happiness is not some magical state of existence finally discovered over the next mountain of life.
(2) Happiness is happening to you along the way, in the midst of life.
(3) People who seek happiness on the other side of the mountain are those who try to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They never will get there.
b. The tragic truth is that many families run right past happiness thinking it is somewhere else.
(1) Don't miss the gift of joy a child's smile can bring today.
(2) Don't miss the explosion of wonder a child's question can set off in your heart.
(3) Don't miss the gift of love your wife or husband would bring to you today,
c. You will miss that moment if you are not paying attention!
2. We miss having a happy family when we value happiness too much.
a. If you would rather be happy than committed to one another, if you would rather be happy than courageous, if you would rather be happy than responsible, if you would rather be happy than right, then you will never really be happy at all.
b. Husbands and wives who value happiness more than the sincere effort to be together in fidelity and love will not be happy for long.
c. People who seek happiness in one marriage or one affair after another are deceived into believing that happiness is a gift someone else can give. The truth is happiness must come from within.
3. We miss having a happy family when we are not willing to do the will of God.
a. If we will not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He cannot give us the desires of our hearts (Matt. 6: 33).
b. The will of God does not always lead us to easy tasks or give us smiles and laughter.
(1) Sometimes we walk with Him through the darkness of suffering or in the outer reaches of rejection as we seek to follow Him.
(2) But the testimony of Christians has been that deep joy can be known by obeying Him and being loyal to His will,
c. Hear what Paul says in Romans 8: 18.
II. Ways We Can Have a Happy Family
1. We can have a happy family when we value each other (Matt. 6: 26).
a. Our heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air.
(1) What about us? He values us more than the birds of the air, so be content that He will care for you.
(2) Our Creator values us and no one can take this away from us.
b. People are happy when each member of the family recognizes that every member has value.
(1) People are unhappy when they do not treasure one another at home.
(2) Each of us is God's gift to the other members of our family.
(3) It is God who stands behind the value of every person and guarantees it.
c. The next time you are tempted to ignore your children or shout at your spouse or ridicule someone's efforts, remember you are dealing with someone God loves and has created and shared with you for your joy and fulfillment.
2. We can have a happy family when we understand that life is more than externals (Matt. 6: 25). a. Life is more than food and drink, clothes and shelter.
(1) As important as they are, they are not the goal of life. It is ironic that many Christian congregations discuss food, clothing, and houses as status symbols, while in much of the world that same discussion is a debate about survival.
(2) It isn't just food, but dining at the "right" restaurants! It isn't just jeans, but designer jeans! It isn't just a house, but the address that we're interested in! God save us from making the excuse that we have poor giving habits because our bills are so high. Much of our world does not have the luxury of even having bills!
b. A happy family emphasizes that necessities and desires of life motivate them to work and be thrifty, but they are not consumed by a passion for gadgets and expensive toys... nor anxious about life's essentials. Jesus does not say "don't worry about food and clothing because they are unimportant." Just the opposite.
(1) In verses 32-33, Jesus asserts that the Father knows we need those things and He will provide them! They are important, so God will not leave their provision entirely up to us. He intends to provide for His own!
3. We can have a happy family when we find the purpose in life God has for our family (Matt. 6: 33).
a. When a family sees itself as a unit of love and service that can be offered to God for His use in blessing and redeeming His world, that family is on its way to happiness. Happiness is what happens to us on our way to doing the will of God !
b. Illustration. A wise pastor was able to raise four children who never felt it necessary to rebel against the church . Their father helped them to feel, all through his ministry, that the family was a partnership in offering their lives to God for His service. There were spiritual and intellectual struggles with personal faith but these were finally resolved. They never resented the ministry their father sought to do, because they considered themselves to be a part of it.
c. A family is happy when they committe themselves to first seek the kingdom of God. This verse reminds us of the necessity of setting priorities for life.
(1) If God and His will are first, then nothing can be above or before Him. When God is at the center of life, everything else fits into place.
(2) Parents can help their children if, by example and precept, they teach them how to live, loving God as they love nothing else and loving their neighbor as they love themselves.
You can have a happy family. Even though it won't be easy, it is possible. You won't be happy every day there will be times when you will go through painful and difficult trauma but by God grace even those moments can contribute to the growing joy and happiness you will find as you live and grow together within His will and loving care.