If you could have anything you want, what would it be? Why? Do you think that would make you happy? Why or why not?
Let’s make a list of the things that really make you happy.
I am going to tell you a story. There was a man who had a wonderful wife. And he thought he had everything that mattered. He had money. He had a nice car. He had friends. He had a big job that made him a big deal to other people. He though he was pretty special. But he wanted more. So actually he wasn’t very happy. He kept trying to get more of anything hoping that he would find what would make him happy.
The more he tried to get the more he felt worse. Pretty soon nothing looked good. The things that use to make him happy now made him feel bad. All he saw was that he didn’t have enough money, he needed a better car, he wanted more important friends, and he wanted people to tell him how great he was all the time.
And then his wife had a baby and he thought “this will make me happy.” But that little baby after being born got sick and almost died. He felt horrible, worse than ever before. He went home and sat in his chair and cried to God, “Please save my baby. Please make her well again. She has done nothing wrong.”
He prayed every day for a week and then one day she woke up and was healthy. She wasn’t sick any more. He asked all the doctors. And he asked all the nurses. And they all said the same thing. “It is a miracle.”
And on that day he learned what happy was. He learned that happy had nothing to do with money, fame, beauty, or comfort. Happy has to do with love.
Today I want to tell you that happiness is all around you. Let me tell you a few things that make me really happy.
- Jesus loves me.
- Jesus loves me every day.
- Jesus loves me when I am not lovable.
When I think about the fact that Jesus loves me whether I am good or bad, whether I am rich or poor, whether I get good grades or bad grades, whether I have a good day or a bad day, whether it is hot or cold, rainy or sunny, snowing or so freezing cold my ears hurt, when I think about that I forget about all the things that I don’t like, or are wrong with me, or I am mad about. I realize those things don’t matter.
When I think about the fact that Jesus loves me, then the words that hurt my feelings, and the car that cut me off in traffic, and the person who wasn’t kind, don’t matter any more. Because Jesus loves me.
Does Jesus love you? Show me your hands if you believe Jesus loves you.
In the lesson, Mark tells us that one day women were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed. He says the disciples told them to go away because they were just children and not as important as the adults. Doesn’t this seem odd to you? Look at your own family. How many of you remember your moms and dads bringing home new babies? Tell me if this is true or false.
- In our families babies seem to get all the attention.
- In our families babies always get fed when they want.
- In our families we have to be quiet so the baby can nap.
- In our families babies get hugs every time they cry.
It seems to me that babies are pretty important to our families.
But did you know when Jesus was alive that families weren’t so happy about more babies? First of all, they don’t do any work, they don’t grow food, they don’t make money and they take time, food, and space away from everybody else. Babies were not about happy – they were a pain in the old schunukus.
And in the second place more than half of all the babies born in the village died before age two. That means that half of all of you lovely happy children would not be here at your age if we lived in Nazareth when Jesus was alive. So why get excited about loving a baby if they were more than likely going to break your heart or make you poorer that you already were.
When the disciples were telling the mothers to take the children away they thought they were protecting Jesus from people that don’t matter. Think about that. Do you think the babies mattered to Jesus? Do you think Jesus’ plan was that the babies would grow up to join Him in heaven?
One more point. The children were brought to Jesus to receive a blessing. What do you think a blessing is? A blessing in the Bible is a word that tells us that salvation is what is being given away. Blessing is a God word that immediately gives life. When the mothers brought the children to receive a blessing they were expecting that Jesus was the Messiah and that His blessing would be the promise they all had waited for.
Can you think of a place in our world where families bring babies to receive a blessing that gives salvation to the baby? That’s right, baptism. Over here (Font) Jesus welcomes babies and gives them the blessing of His name and the promise of eternal life. He offers this blessing as a free gift for anyone who wants to be blessed. And he doesn’t want anyone to get in the way and make rules, or give tests, or block people from receiving His free gift, because Jesus loves each one of us. And that makes me happy.