Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

November 27, 2004

Title: You Can Have a Happy Family

 

Text: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).

 

Scripture Reading:

 

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-33).

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The subject of today’s devotion is,You Can Have a Happy Family.”

 

You might wonder if it’s really that important to set a goal for your family’s happiness. 

 

After all, most of us are no longer raising our family; the children are married and have their own families.

 

And, happiness is certainly not the goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our lives, even though that is one of the benefits of salvation. 

 

Instead, we find in the Bible that obedience to God must always take precedence over “the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). 

 

For example, Moses was willing to take his lot in life with the people of God, even though it leads to a lot of suffering. 

 

The reason he felt that way was because he believed that it would be better for him to spend eternity with them in the hereafter, rather than to enjoy all the sensual sinful pleasures of Pharaoh’s court, which would be but for a season, and then he would be punished with everlasting misery. 

 

But if we define happiness as a feeling of well-being, of contentment, of joy over our purpose for living, then happiness is, at least what most people are looking for in life.

 

In today’s scripture reading Jesus has not dismissed happiness as a superficial desire, but rather He focuses on how an individual and family can find true happiness.  

 

We don’t have to be anxious about life, although we often are. 

 

There is a way to find happiness in the midst of our lives. 

 

And Jesus wants us to find it. 

 

But first we need to recognize that we can miss happiness by our frantic efforts to obtain happiness for our family and friends.

 

I want to talk first about THE WAYS WE MISS HAVING A HAPPY FAMILY.

 

One way we miss having a happy family is by never being satisfied with what we have.

 

It is good to be a person who looks forward to the future, but we shouldn’t miss what’s going on all around us. 

 

We need to “wake up and smell the roses.” 

 

God is good to you today; right now. 

 

You may not believe it, but I assure you that at this moment, you have more than most of the people in the world. 

 

Millions go to bed hungry for most of their lives and multitudes more live in fear and hopelessness. 

 

Enjoy today’s blessings, today. 

 

Happiness is not some magical state of existence that we finally discover over the next mountain of life. 

 

Instead, happiness happens to you along the way, in the midst of your daily life. 

 

People who seek happiness on the other side of the mountain are like those who look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

 

They will never find it.

 

The tragic truth is that many families run right past happiness, because they are searching for it someplace else. 

 

Don’t miss the gift of joy that a child’s smile can bring today. 

 

Don’t miss the explosion of joy and wonder that a child’s question can set off in your heart. 

 

Don’t miss the gift of love that a friend or family member can bring to you today. 

 

You will miss many happy experiences if you are not paying attention to what is going on around you.

 

Another way to miss happiness is to value happiness too much. 

 

If you would rather be happy than to have a friend, 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 be happy at all. 

 

Husbands and wives who would rather be happy than to make a sincere effort at being faithful and loving to one another, will not be happy for very long. 

 

People who seek happiness in one marriage or affair after another are deceived into believing that happiness is a gift that someone else can give, when, in truth, happiness can only come from within.

 

Finally, we can miss having a happy family when we are not willing to do God’s will.

 

If we will not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, God cannot add to us the needs and desires of our hearts. 

 

Our text says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (v. 33). 

 

Matthew is telling his readers to set priorities. 

 

Often women are overwhelmed by too many things to do, because there are many good choices concerning how to divide up their time.

 

To set priorities is to determine what is important to you and how your time is to be doled out—that is, who and what will take precedence over other parts of your life. 

 

Scripture contains guidelines for how you are to use your time:

 

  1. There must be time for your personal relationship to Jesus Christ; going to church, daily Bible reading and prayer.
  2. You must commit time to home and family—especially your spouse and children, and even to the extended family, which was so beautifully portrayed in the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. 

 

This also includes making time for the friends you have here at Eastside.

  3. You must fulfill your responsibility to your employer. 

 

The Bible infers that we should work just like we would if Jesus was the boss.

 

You may no longer have a paying job, but I see many of you help those who can’t get around well or have handicaps or are poor, and I am happy to see that you take the responsibility seriously.


  4. There needs to be time set aside for your service to God through ministries in the church. 

 

That may involve praying for others, being pleasant and helping others.

 

There are more demands on our time than this, that’s why people seem to live in such a hurry, and a flurry and a worry and they have so little time to spare.

 

So when you prioritize your time you must give prayerful consideration to each item.

 

Usually, things are done in the order of importance. 

 

To be consistent in your priorities, consider this course of action:

 

  1. Assign God first place.
  2. Consult with God regularly in your quiet time.
  3. Examine your own heart.
  4. Keep yourself spiritually fit.

 

Jesus met with the Father in intensive prayer and meditation to determine His priorities and to prepare Himself for each day.

 

Note also these precautions:

 

  1. Put people before things.
  2. Do not limit your investment in those you love, and others who cross your path, to money and gifts.
  3. Look for ways to invest yourself, your time, and your energies.
  4. Family must be more important than your occupation or your hobbies, since Scripture clearly states that there is no success if the family is lost.
  5. Sometimes you must say “no,” as did even Jesus when some seemingly good requests for His time did not fit the overall plan for His ministry.
  6. The underlying principle in determining priorities is always that spiritual values must overshadow worldly pursuits.

 

God’s will does not always lead us to easy tasks and He doesn’t always give us smiles and laughter. 

 

Instead of walking in happiness, we must sometimes walk with Him through the darkness of suffering or in the outer reaches of rejection. 

 

But the testimony of Christians is that deep joy can be known in obedience and faithfulness to His will. 

 

Listen to what Paul has to say in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 

 

In this verse, Paul is contrasting the sufferings of the present with the glorious hope for the future.

 

Paul had suffered greatly for the sake of the gospel.

 

Yet he acknowledged that those sufferings were nothing compared to the future glory he anticipated.

 

God’s children will participate in the glory of Christ; they will experience complete conformity to Christ.

 

The Bible states that someday we will be like Him.

 

Believers have received the Holy Spirit as God’s down payment or guarantee of ultimate victory over sin and death.

 

Those are the ways that we can miss having a happy family, so now let’s see the WAYS WE CAN HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY.

 

First, we can have a happy family when we value each other. 

 

We began by reading Matthew 6:26 which said, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” 

 

Our heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air.  

 

Birds cannot sow. 

 

Birds cannot reap.   

 

But what about us?  

 

Birds cannot gather anything into barns, but you and I can. 

 

The little bird is trusting God to take care of him, and we are to trust Him, also.  

 

Jesus asked, “Are you not of more value than they.” 

 

He values us more than the birds, so we can be sure that He will take care of us. 

 

People are happy when each member of the family recognizes the value of every other member. 

 

People are unhappy in their homes when they don’t treasure one another. 

 

Friends, one of the best things that you can do is to respect others and then to love them for Jesus sake, because after all God loves them and Jesus died for them.

 

We are each God’s gift to the other members of our family. 

 

God stands behind the value of every person and guarantees it. 

 

The next time we are tempted to ignore our friends or to shout at them or to ridicule their efforts, we should remember we are dealing with someone that God loves; someone He created and shared with us for our joy and fulfillment. 

 

The next thing I should say is, we can have a happy family when we understand that life is more than externals. 

 

We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom (Matt. 6:33).

 

It means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important.

 

It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control and our one desire is to glorify Him.

 

This is the secret of a happy life and a life that is free of worry.

 

Listen as I read verse 25 again. 

 

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. 

 

Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” 

 

Life is more than food and drink, clothes and shelter. 

 

As important as these things are they are not the goal of life. 

 

It is ironic that in most Christian congregations talk about food, clothing, and houses is a discussion of status symbols, while in much of the world such a discussion is a debate about survival. 

 

We don’t talk about just food, but about dining at the right restaurants!  

 

Our children no longer just have to have a pair of jeans; they must have designer jeans. 

 

It isn’t just the house, but where it is located that is so important. 

 

And something that bothers me is that today we read about children killing other children over name brand tennis shoes. 

 

What a terrible tragedy. 

 

I read recently that tithes and offerings are down and that the result is that fewer missionaries are being sent out.

 

It’s disgraceful, and I must ask God, “Please forgive us for our poor giving habits and for explaining it away by saying our bills are too high, when much of our world doesn’t even have the luxury of having bills!”

 

Friends, a happy family puts enough emphasis on the necessities and desires of life to provide motivation for work and being thrifty.

 

But a happy family is not consumed by a passion for gadgets and expensive toys—nor are they overcome by a desire for life’s essentials. 

 

Jesus doesn’t tell us not to worry about food and clothing because they are unimportant. 

 

Just the opposite. 

 

In Matthew 6:32-33, Jesus asserts that the Father knows we need these things and He will provide them. 

 

They are so important that God will not leave their provision up to us. 

 

He intends to provide for His own.

 

Finally, we can have a happy family when we find the purpose in life that God has for our family. 

 

When a family sees itself as a thing of love and service that can be offered to God for His use in blessing and redeeming the world, that family is on its way to happiness. 

 

That applies to the family of God that’s in this room, because you can make a difference when you act as a unit to help others; or to show love for others and for one another. 

 

Happiness is what happens to us when we are doing God’s will, that is, doing things His way. 

 

A family is happy when its members are fully committed to seeking the kingdom of God, first.

 

Listen as I read Matthew 6:33 again. 

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

 

This verse reminds us of the necessity of setting priorities for our lives. 

 

We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom.

 

“Seeking the kingdom of God” means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important.

 

It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control, and our one desire is to glorify Him.

 

This is the secret of a happy life and a life that is free of worry.  

 

If God and His will are in first place, nothing else can be above or before Him. 

 

When God is at the center of our lives everything else fits into place. 

 

Parents can help their children if, by example and training, they teach them how to live by loving God more than anything else and to love their neighbor as much as they love themselves. 

 

The most important thing in life is to put God first.

 

Conclusion

 

You too can have a happy family.

 

It won’t be easy, but it is possible. 

 

You won’t be happy every day—there will be times when you go through painful and difficult trials—but by the grace of God even those moments can contribute to a growing joy and happiness that you will find as you live and grow together within His will and loving care.

 

So for a happy life, make God first in your life. 

 

Read His word daily. 

 

Pray about everything and worry about nothing. 

 

I could give you a long list of “dos” and “don’ts” now, but instead I will just say “be like Jesus.” 

 

Try to be like God’s Son; His life is to be our example. 

 

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