Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blessed are the Poor (Luke 6:20)

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20 NASB)

The Message version has an interesting paraphrase of this verse:
"You are blessed when you have lost it all.  God's kingdom is there for the finding."

The Greek word translated here as "poor" is ptōchos and is, perhaps, better translated as destitute and reduced to begging. That doesn't seem like a blessed situation in our affluent society, but, according to Jesus, it is.  How can that be? When we have lost all the "stuff" that distracts us, it is easier to get our eyes on God, from whom all blessings flow. When it becomes obvious to us that we are powerless to solve our problems or meet our own needs, we are more likely to turn to a Higher Power and request help from the Almighty. Any situation that drives us to Jesus is, in fact, a blessing. 

What if we are not financially poverty-stricken? Where is our blessing? The blessing of poverty of spirit is still available when our focus is on eternal rather than temporal things. When we see our position and possessions as gifts from God and not as evidence of our own greatness, we move closer to poverty of spirit. When we hold our "things" with open hands that allow God to do with our finances and possessions as He wills, without limits, we have moved into the blessing zone. 

Poverty of spirit, however, requires that we also see others in a different light. Not everyone who finds themselves in the condition of reduced means is there because of laziness, irresponsibility, or poor choices. Many who are poor have great spiritual wealth. We would do well to see them and their situation through the eyes of Christ and to BE the hands and feet of Jesus in helping to meet their needs. 

Today, pray for the poverty of spirit, despite our circumstances, that drives us and our loved ones to seek the Kingdom of God. Pray, too, for a willingness to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need. 
Here's the link to last night's Bahamian blog: