“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3
Most of us want to be happy. We want to grab all the gusto we can get. We want to pursue happiness wherever it can be found. We want to be able to do our own thing; live in pleasant houses, drive nice cars, wear beautiful clothes, go to a new restaurant, have a comfortable income, maybe have a facelift, amuse and please ourselves in all sorts of ways. In fact most of us believe happiness is our due, and some of us even think it’s our inalienable right.
Which makes me wonder. Is it right for us to expect to be happy? Isn’t it selfish to be wanting happiness when the world is plagued with poverty, anxiety and indifference? And, most important, what does Jesus have to say on the subject?
Well, believe it or not, Jesus has a lot to say about happiness. After all, Jesus is in the happiness business. That’s right! He’s not, as some would have us believe, a cosmic killjoy. He’s not a God of do’s and don’ts. Nor does He want to rain on your parade. Christianity is about being happy. Jesus wants you to be full of joy. For Jesus is the author of happiness, the way to happiness, the paradigm of happiness, and the One in whom happiness is fulfilled.
Now that’s not to say that the happiness found in Jesus is the same as the happiness found in the world. Jesus doesn’t say, “Happy are the somebodies.” He doesn’t measure happiness externally. Far from it. Jesus’ happiness is revolutionary. It catches one short. It explodes in the mind. It calls for self examination. It shatters preconceived ideas. And it does away with easy believism. For, if I’m to paraphrase Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:3, He essentially says, “Happy are the nobodies!