Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.                Matthew 5:3

We like the glamour of being congratulated. No matter how talented we are the congratulations usually elevate us to a level of notoriety we only wish we portrayed. This kind of congratulations (blessed) is like the kid who tripped and dropped his lunch tray in middle school on the asbestos tile floor. You hear the crash of the tray holding morsels of mystery meat pizza and green beans with the chocolate milk with the missing kids on the side. And everyone in the room stands up and applauds. Irony in the moment is the congratulation to one who neither wants the attention nor has done something to demand an ovation.

Jesus whole character is mysterious irony. As the Scottish Preacher said, “He saved others yet Himself He did not save.” Whether by lifestyle or teaching, Jesus takes us to another level of understand of how far off the mark we are, how the commandments are much further than we ever considered, how much more the relationship entails. He takes our feeble attempts to hold to keeping absolutes then tells us to deny ourselves to do it. He disbands the notion of “comfort zone” and pushes us to learn to be comfortable with suffering. He removes one slave master and makes us slaves of Him. It shouldn’t take much careful observation into anything that Jesus says the silences you. That is assuming that you have some drop of honesty in self-examination.

When we arrive at the truth of Jesus teaching and take His words as real and living the only conclusion that is reasonable is that we lack any capacity to fulfill anything God expects in ourselves. I remember meeting this guy named Stan under the 670 Bridge in Kansas City, MO. A group of them had created a home of sorts; walls and a covering which actually did a good job of keeping the elements out. One morning we were eating breakfast and discussing life and he had mentioned that it would be nice just to have enough to wash His clothes from time to time. Just to feel clean would be sufficient.

We lack the spiritual bank to pay for a washing. There is just not enough change in your pocket to clean you. You are poor. I am poor. Only the spiritual destitute, the ones who can say “I am poor” with some convictions; with the same determination we use to build ourselves to accomplish our dreams do we really understand the magnitude of our lacking. There really is nothing more need to explain it than considering why God who created us has to come in the flesh to tell us something we should already know. But that just goes to show us how poor we are. We are so weak, and lacking, we do not understand how week or lacking we are. We are so poor that we God to show us.

This is moment we come to know how rich in grace God is. Those whose desire is wrapped in security of their own insufficiency come to grips with sovereignty of God. If you lack, there must be someone who does. Blessed are the “I am poor, I have nothing, I am worth nothing” ones. Blessed are the ones who have embraced their eternal insufficiency lack of power for their desires have come to embrace the sovereign love and power of God. When we cease to “think” we can rule, we find that the one who does rule has everything under control according to the richness of His grace.

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