“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3
When we think of being “poor,” good things don’t come to our minds. I always think about not having a lot and always struggling to be able to survive in this world. The hard times, having to pinch every penny, and the buyer’s remorse every time you spend anything. Even when it’s something you absolutely need like food or personal hygiene products. Being “Poor” sucks.
However, there are good things that come out of being poor. I always think back to “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith and how the man in the movie struggled. Following a business adventure that would make his family a lot of money, but ended up being one of the worst investments of his life. His wife left him and his son. He had to live in homeless shelters and even turned against a good friend of his for sixteen dollars! Then a job opportunity came that he couldn’t refuse. He worked hard and did his best to charm the bosses until they offered him the job, and it changed his life. Now the man who the movie is about now lives a really good.
I think the best life lessons come from when you start at the bottom. It keeps you grounded as your success grows and reminds you of where you came from. Many people who struggled at one point in their life end up helping a lot of people through their own charities and fundraiser events. Most of the time it’s aimed towards people who find themselves in the exact situation they were in before.
Let’s look at some more good things that come out of being poor.
1. You are thankful for what you have – You may not have a lot or be able to give everything your family wants, but you have enough. There’s a level of happiness that is found in this situation because, honestly, you don’t need a lot of stuff. Stuff is stuff. At the end of the day, what does it really do for you?
2. Relying on God – Let’s face it. There are some people who have to decide which bills they’re going to pay that month. How terrible to think about! This gives us reasons to rely on God. He promises that He’ll give for us the things we need. I’ve come to notice that even when I feel that I’m not being provided for, I am. (Matthew 6:31-32)
3. You’re Humbled – Admitting you need help isn’t a weakness. In fact, it takes a seriously large amount of strength to turn away from your pride like that. When we come before God and ask for His help, or for ANYONE’S help, there’s something that happens within us. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather admit that I need help and get it than not to and struggle. When we humble ourselves, we understand that we have no control.
So what does that have to do with our spirits? Jesus wants us to take all the good lessons that we learn through being “Poor” and apply them to our spirits. While we’re probably not poor on the outside, He wants us to act poor on the inside. Be thankful for everything that we have whether it’s a lot or a little. Trust in Him no matter if we are in a good place or a bad place. Realize that we aren’t in control of our own lives and give the control to Him.
Since the beatitudes are the opposite of what the world expects us to be, what is the opposite of being poor in spirit? If we aren’t poor in spirit then we are proud. We aren’t thankful for what God provides, we don’t rely on God for what we need, and we never accept help or admit that we need it.
“(17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” – Revelation 3:17-19
The church of Laodicea was a lot like this. In Revelation 3:17-19, John sends a letter to tell them what Jesus wants them to know. They think they are rich and don’t need anything. You can think of their city as being like the United States. We don’t really need anything. Sure jobs, a less amount of homeless people and food stamps, etc. All those would be nice, but we have a lot more than a lot of other countries. In fact, I make more in a week than a lot of people live off in a year. Crazy, right?
These people were wealthy and comfortable. Let me put it into perspective. If you are happy at your job, with your home, your spouse, your children, and your material wealth, what do you need? Nothing, right? Wrong. No matter what situation you’re in, you always need God. All of these things that make you happy are temporary. What happens if you lose it all? Do you suddenly need God now? God doesn’t want you to only need Him when it’s convient to you. He wants you to need Him ALL THE TIME.
There are other forms of wealth than just material things. A lot of people in the church are under the impression that they are “spiritually wealthy.” Meaning that they have their salvation, wisdom and understanding, and the Holy Spirit. However, that is usually not the case. A lot of the time people lose sight of this beatitude in their hearts. We become what people call, “High and mighty.”
This is why Jesus calls us to be Poor in Spirit. If we’re supposed to live our lives for Him, that means serving Him and His people. You can’t serve and help others if you are too high and mighty. If you are so prideful in yourself and what you think your salvation is.
In 5:3, Jesus says that to be “Poor in Spirit,” is to be blessed. This goes the opposite direction of what we consider being “Blessed” is. When you hear some say they’re blessed, what comes to your mind? Usually that something grand happened to them or that they don’t have a single worry. They’re blessed because they came across a lot of money, got a new car, found a house, etc. But here Jesus says that if you are poor in your own state of mind, then you’re blessed.
What He’s really saying is that it’s better to humble yourself and be a light to others than to be prideful and be “Above” others. When you don’t humble yourself, you don’t care about others and their situations. You start to think that you can control your own life. Eventually, you leave the arms of Jesus.
So what does being Poor in spirit mean to you? Are you more prideful or humble? What in your life have caused you to humble yourself? When do you consider yourself blessed? Remember, there’s no right or wrong answers. We are all at different stages of our lives and our faith. Sometimes we continuously fall back into these stages. However, this is how God wants us to be. This is how His son was and still is to this day. The whole point of being a Christian isn’t just to love God and find salvation in His son. It’s also to follow His teachings and be like Him. Even though we could never live up to His standards.
Picture via torrahclub.ffoz.org