What do you desire more than anything in the world? I believe each of our desires would probably be different. Yet, I think that most people in the world would, if they thought about it, desire peace and happiness. I know that’s two things, but they do kind of go together. The one other thing that some folks may desire more than anything is wisdom…and it may go along with happiness.
So, just for fun let’s consider that we all desire, more than anything else in the world, happiness and wisdom. The next question then would be are either of these achievable? And if we could get happiness and/or wisdom is it possible to keep them forever? Could we be forever happy and/ore wise? Or would we only have them for a while?
Wouldn’t it be great to find out how to be happy all the time, no matter what happened, and then actually be happy? Is it even possible or is that only something we dream about but can’t ever have? What do you think?
What did we just hear this morning? The writer of Proverbs thinks that a good wife, the über wife, would make the husband and family and even the community happy. The Psalmist says that the law of the Lord makes people happy. So happy they think about it day and night. And James doesn’t say that this will make us happy but he says that if a person lives “right and by being humble and wise in everything you do… wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. When peacemakers plant seeds of peace, they will harvest justice…Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you.”
I think he’s implying that if we do this we’ll not only be wise but we’ll also be happy. If a person is pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere wouldn’t they also be happy…and wise? I think so.
And then, Mark’s gospel has Jesus asking the disciples what they were talking about as they walked along the road to Capernaum. They were so ashamed of what they were talking about they couldn’t tell him. I wonder if they had thought about the fact that he knew what they were thinking and talking about all the time. Probably not otherwise they wouldn’t have done it.
Well, Jesus knew so he used it as an opportunity to teach them one more lesson. They were interested in positions of power in the Kingdom. Jesus showed them that in order to be first in the Kingdom they would have to be last here. He pulled a young child onto his lap and said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.” In some translations instead of “embraces” the word “welcome” is used.
Think about that. Jesus is telling the Twelve that they need to be hospitable to little children. In Jesus’ day children weren’t really paid much attention to until they had received the required training in the synagogue. Even then they were to be quiet and listen and learn from those who were wiser by being older. But Jesus was saying that if anyone wanted to get close to Him and/or God then they needed to welcome or embrace those who were the least. And then they’d be happy…and wise.
So, what is it you desire the most in this life? If it’s true happiness and wisdom do you know how to be truly happy and wise today? If we’re thinking that it’s the material things of this world that’ll make us happy I’m afraid we’ll be disappointed. And if we think the perfect spouse or child or children will make us forever happy again I think we’d be disappointed.
To be truly happy and wise we need to surrender our lives to God and come near to Jesus and Him by serving and welcoming those who we view as less than or lower than us.
Don’t you wonder if those disciples who were arguing and discussing who would be first in the Kingdom ever got what they wanted? I guess we’ll find out when we get there.
Good friends, to be happy…and wise we have learned today that we need to come near to Jesus and God and we can do that by welcoming…and embracing those we don’t often pay much attention to, the least in this world.
So, what are we going to do with this lesson this week? Friends, I’m going to pray that God will provide me opportunities to serve others and Him. What are you going to pray for?
Thanks be to God for his grace, mercy, and peace. Amen.