I have often dreamt of saying those words… especially recently as the lottery jackpot totaled 1.6 BILLION dollars. B.I.L.L.I.O.N. I found myself thinking, “Lord, I know I am not going to play the lottery but maybe a close relative or friend could win; just the relative or friend that would share😉. I’ve thought about what I would do with all the money…buy a new home…new car…pay off debts…kids’ college…weddings…and of course give to the church and other deserving ministries. What would you do with a winning that size? Let me ask another question, “Why do we even take time to dwell on this?” “Why play the lottery?”
I believe that there is a secret place in all of us that desires wealth…security…self-sufficiency and the peace of mind of having no needs. We think that this kind of endless wealth would bring contentment and happiness. We would no longer need to depend on anyone, not even God! In many cases we would no longer have to wait, save, wonder or pray. We would truly be HAPPY…so we think.
After pondering this for a while, it made me wonder what Jesus said about happiness and contentment. The world loves to celebrate the concept of Jesus, but I am not sure they embrace the real Jesus; love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance are the espoused values. But when you look at some of the things that Jesus says, it is really “upside down” compared to the values of this world. He says things that will make you walk away, shake your head and go … “Really?”
I found just this type of passage in Matthew 5. Jesus has a crowd listening to him on a rather large hillside. He is preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God. This is a welcomed subject to any good Jew. They were tired of Roman oppression and were looking for the Messiah’s deliverance. Jesus begins his sermon by telling the crowd about “happiness”, for those who are part of the Kingdom.
Jesus uses a word “Blessed” to describe these kingdom dwellers. In a loose sense it does mean happy; not the superficial feeling of well-being based on circumstances…not based on luck or favorable circumstances. This word means to be “fully satisfied”. This satisfaction comes from the abiding joy of a life indwelt by Christ. It is a deep sense of contentment. Question, “What kind of person in God’s Kingdom is happily satisfied?” Those with the most money? Lottery winners? Those with no needs?
Jesus’ words will blow you away, “Blessed are the POOR in SPIRIT”. The happiest in God’s Kingdom are those who are poor, needy, helpless, in spirit; those who recognize their brokenness and frailty. SINFULNESS! It is an awareness and an embracing of the fact that without God’s intervention I AM NO GOOD. I NEED HIM. It’s just the opposite of the lies that worldly riches tell us… “With me, you won’t lack anything, with me you will be happy, with me you won’t need God!
Prosperity, fulfillment, happiness, contentment and real satisfaction come not to the proud and self-sufficient but to those who are needy and know it!
Isaiah 55:1–3 (ESV)
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
We all have an invitation from God to come to Him and find true delight. It is the person who recognizes their poverty of soul and finds satisfaction in God alone that is truly happy. Matthew 5:3 says… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. Meaning, that all that God has is yours if you are in the Kingdom. All riches, all blessings, all forgiveness, all power, all righteousness…YOURS! Because I have humbly turned to Jesus and surrendered to His Lordship, I can truly say, “I. HAVE. WON. THE. LOTTERY”!