One of Jesus’ phrases has been rolling around in my head this week. People are often asked what they want most, and they typically reply, “I just want to be happy.” It’s a nebulous, immeasurable, quality that is often assumed to be the sum of having what we want. Fame, possessions, health, and success have all been pursued as windows into happiness, and yet some of the most famous, wealthy, beautiful, and successful people of history have been some of the most miserable.
Jesus told stories about vineyard workers, or about faithful stewards to whom trust was given. When they were responsible with those trusts, they were rewarded. In fact, Jesus used those experiences to describe the glory of God’s salvation and welcome to Heaven. He used this phrase: “enter into your Master’s happiness.” It’s the picture of a wedding, a banquet, a victorious return, a rewarding of honor, and a host of other ideas, but they all hold this in common: the one who trusted or followed Jesus gets to experience JESUS’ happiness as their own.
This week I’ll be hosting the wedding of my youngest son, but all of our planning for this day has been within the restrictions that were born of our pandemic. The guest list had to be pared, the precautions carefully understood, and punctuated more by what could NOT happen than what COULD. In spite of those details, what I have as the father is this incredible happiness over my son and future daughter-in-law. None of the guests will bring happiness with them; I want them to experience OUR happiness as a gift. We have reason to celebrate, and we want people to get to taste that because it’s good, wishing we could include more than we’re allowed.
Jesus doesn’t offer His happiness lightly or flippantly. He’s eager, just like he was eager to see the Samaritan woman experience freedom from shame, or Zacchaeus to experience liberation from miserable selfishness, or Peter to experience restoration after his failure.
That’s His invitation to us. “Come. Enter into your Master’s happiness.” Sounds like a much better way to finally “be happy.”