Why is true happiness so hard to find? What do truly happy people look like? Well, it’s not what culture wants us to believe, that’s for sure. Culture says that happiness is all about what we have – our stuff.
- Prosperity Theory – Money fixes problems. Rich people are happy. If God cares about our happiness, then He must want us to be rich. But, there’s a problem. Many rich people are actually miserable.
- Poverty Theory – Simplicity eliminates problems. Poor people are happy. Again, there’s a problem. Many poor people are actually miserable.
If abundant resources don’t guarantee lasting happiness and the simplicity of limited resources doesn’t guarantee lasting happiness, then how can we find it? Jesus claims that both the rich and the poor can experience true happiness. But the key to being truly happy is to become poor in spirit.
In this case, the word Jesus uses for ‘poor’ is the word used to describe a beggar. To be poor is one thing, but to be ‘beggar’ poor is to be completely dependent on the kindness of others for survival. Here, Jesus is not talking about material wealth. He is talking about something far more important than a person’s stuff.
Happy people recognize and acknowledge their need for God. Happy people realize that no matter what they have, they are nothing apart from the grace and mercy of God. This happiness comes from understanding that the greatest need in life will never be met by material things or by effort. The greatest need in life can only be met through the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ.
To be “poor in Spirit,” one recognizes their standing before God as a sinner in need of a Savior. If you haven’t experienced happiness that lasts no matter how your resources change, ask God today for that steady, constant happiness that only He can give. To be poor in Spirit is to be rich in happiness!
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor, George Wright, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C