Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Poor are You?

Scripture: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
Study: Jesus said, "Come follow me." Can you imagine all the behaviors and the language Jesus must have observed of the crowd that was “following” Him? I taught kindergarten and often took the children on field trips. You can learn a lot about children and their families as you listen and observe. Jesus took advantage of this teachable moment.

Jesus taught, saying, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” "Poor! You say? I do not understand.” I was taught that my civic responsibility was to take care of myself and to lend a hand to others who were not as fortunate. I have spent my whole life working from nine to five to provide food, clothes, home, conveniences, and even luxuries for my family. Is Jesus saying I have to become financially bankrupt to follow Him? The vision in my mind is a bankrupt person standing on the side of the road who is not only bankrupt financially but whose spirit is bankrupt. They have lost all the happiness and joy and are hopeless except for the mercy shown by others. They cannot help themselves or anyone else. What could Jesus possibly have meant by telling his followers to become "poor?"

This is not about being financially bankrupt.  It is about spiritual bankruptcy which is our inability to satisfy the deepest needs in our life. God created us to be in relationship with him because outside that relationship we will always search to fill that void.

King David understood the concept of being poor in spirit. He said, "THE LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me," Psalm 23:1-4. David understood that happiness was not in wealth but in an attitude of acceptance that God is the giver and provider of all good things. 

Application: How many people do you know that does not experience true joy in their spirit? Do have joy? Many walk, as they though they have no hope. Without Jesus there is no hope we are spiritually poor. 

The first step in any recovery plan is to recognize one's need. As we recognize our need we acknowledge our poverty and in that poverty we simply need to open our clinched fist and accept Christ offer to bless us. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” for they have recognized their spiritual bankruptcy and have come with open hands to be blessed from the Father who wants to fill us with this finest, joy and happiness from within (Psalms 81:16).

Dear Father help us to realize our spiritual bankruptcy, to humble ourselves so that you can bless us with the finest you desire for us. 
 In Jesus name I pray. Amen.