Pastor Miles delivered today’s message from Matthew 19 with parallel scenes from the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness.
Do you ever feel that, in your pursuit of success and happiness, you can’t catch a break?
Do you ever feel that, in your pursuit of success and happiness, you can’t catch a break? Sometimes setbacks and obstacles are the hand of God as He tries to get your attention. As you strive to earn more possessions, money, responsibility, or prestige, don’t be fooled into thinking that these are the things that will bring you happiness. No one wants to spend his life running down a path and realize he missed the real road!
Our Scripture today from Matthew 19 is the story of the rich young ruler who comes to Jesus thinking he has life all figured out. He is rich, influential, and educated and he believes he lacks nothing except eternal life. But when Jesus “drops a bomb” on him, he realizes the whole plan for his life has been wrong.
The rich young ruler asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies,
“…if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
This young man believes he is all set—that his whole life has been lived according to God’s design. He has wealth, status, and education, and he has followed the commandments. But Jesus’ reply leaves him stunned:
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:21-22
The rich young ruler is sorrowful because the things he has built up for himself are the things that have given his life meaning. He feels he cannot let them go in order to pursue Christ. There is nothing wrong with having riches, possessions, or earthly success; the problem arises when those things have you.
If you are experiencing difficulty in achieving the earthly successes you seek, consider that these obstacles you face may be God’s way of telling you not to trust in those things. We think we know the best way to be happy, but truthfully, only God knows what really satisfies us. Our path can never compare to His! Are you willing to let everything go and pursue His picture of happiness instead of your own?
Pastor Miles shared that as a young football player, he thought all of his dreams had come true when he was drafted to the LA Rams. At the end of training camp, however, it all came crashing down and Miles was let go. He felt devastated and could not see how things could be better. But a week later he got a call to try out for the San Diego Chargers. When he made the team, it was the beginning of his life in San Diego, the city where he met and decided to follow Christ, experienced major life changes, and began to serve in ministry. Think about how things would be different if that had never happened!
Just as God had a plan that Miles couldn’t understand in his devastation, He has a plan for you.
Just as God had a plan that Miles couldn’t understand in his devastation, He has a plan for you. If you realize right now that you are seeking after happiness in the wrong places, it’s time to embrace a challenge and opportunity to let those things go and choose to follow God. While you may not have to sell all your possessions to the poor, today you face two choices:
1) Walk away sorrowful because your picture of success has a hold on you OR
2) Trade it in for the better deal that God has for you!