January 9

Genesis 29-31, Psalm 9

Willie Hurt won 3.1 million dollars in the Michigan lottery in 1989. The money didn’t last long. Within two years Hurt wrecked his marriage, lost custody of his kids and was charged with attempted murder. He spent his winnings on his divorce and drugs, according to his attorney. This is one of many stories of those who felt that if they were only rich then they would truly be happy. When John D. Rockefeller, the richest man on the earth at the time, was asked by a reporter how much more money he could possibly want, he answered, “Just a little more.” They, like many others, feel that if they simply received more of what this world could offer them, then they would experience true happiness. But we are all born with a God sized hole in our hearts, and only God will ever satisfy this.

We read in Genesis 30:1, “Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!”.” To be barren in that culture was considered a curse and Rachel felt the only way to find relief and happiness was wrapped up in a child. We read in 30:22-24, “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The Lord shall add to me another son.” Humanity is never satisfied. Barren Rachel finally has a child, and her response is not thank you, but please give me another. As the story continues, we find in Genesis 35:16-20, that indeed Rachel had one more son, whom she named Benoni, which means “the son of my sorrow”, as she died in childbirth. Jacob then changed his name to Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand”. So, Rachel felt to truly live she needed children which is ultimately what killed her.

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” How many of us believe we can be satisfied with a little more of what this world has to offer: financial security, the right spouse, the perfect children, the right friends, the right job, the bigger house, the nice vacation, etc. But the things of this world never satisfies, we will crave for more. Happiness comes from the word happenstance which is based on circumstances. Joy is independent of circumstances and comes from a life filled with the Holy Spirit. Joy makes us realize we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Our joy should be in bringing glory to God, not acquiring possessions.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato