The Real Pathway to a Happy Life

A sermon idea based on Psalm 112.

Psalm 112:1-10 NRSV

[1] Praise the LORD! Happy are those who fear the LORD, who greatly delight in his commandments. [2] Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. [3] Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. [4] They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous. [5] It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice. [6] For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever. [7] They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the LORD. [8] Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. [9] They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; their horn is exalted in honor. [10] The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

Angle

The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

Happiness isn’t about what we consume, but what we contribute.

Anchor

Information about the text that matters to the message…

The psalmist isn’t offering a blanket “promise” to all believers of wealth and happiness. Instead, the writer is trying to teach us something about how God works and how he responds to us.

Our assumption is that the more we collect and consume, the happier will be our experience of life on earth. But in God’s economy, the opposite is true.

Giving is the pathway to having all that really matters. The psalmist lays down two requirements for our pursuit of happiness.

  1. Be generous.
  2. Be just.

In other words, we should start with our ethics and let God bless.

Application

The big call-to-action in the message…

Look at your life and find ways in which you could live more generously – with your time, your resources, and your friendship. And examine your ethics to do all that you do with justice and equity for all in mind.

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About the Cover Art: Romney, George, 1734-1802. Effects of Pride, or Injustice, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.