Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 5:3
Our pastor preached on this verse today. A messege that went straight to my heart. For the first time, I see this poverty in spirit, this searching and spiritual destitution I've been suffering from in a new light. For I am, and have been for a while now, poor in spirit. Jesus said I am blessed because of that.
What does it mean to be "poor in spirit"? The word "poor" is transliterated "ptochos" from the Greek. It is used 34 times in the NT. Here is the definition from Strong's: "reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms, destitute of wealth, influence, position, honor; lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues,; helpless, powerless to accomplish an end; poor, needy; lacking in anything; as respects their spirit; destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture which the schools afford."
Destitute, impoverished in our spirit, powerless to accomplish an end, lacking....how many of us desire this as the state of our hearts? Or would think it a blessing? Why, why did Jesus say "blessed", happy, fully satisfied, is the one who's spirit is impoverished? It doesn't make sense. It's upside-down of what we would think. It seems to me that the ones who are blessed are the strong in spirit, the people who have unwavering faith, who never question why God does something or if He even exists. You know the folks I'm talking about. They are the ones that everyone looks up to, that everyone wishes they could be like. But Jesus didn't say "blessed are the strong in spirit". He said "blessed are the poor in spirit".
I've been fighting this spiritual destitution. This questioning and railing at God for things I don't understand. I hate not feeling joy or peace. I hate wondering if God even cares about me. If I can trust Him. I am hanging on, or rather, He is hanging on to me, by a thread it seems sometimes. I certainly have no spiritual riches to give to anyone. I cannot even pull myself out of this spiritual hole I have fallen into. How can this be a blessing? What was Jesus thinking?
Perhaps it is a little like being physically poor. You have very little to give away, yet you share what you have with others who need it. You never take anything for granted. Every gift, every bonus, every act of kindness means the world to you. You are forced to admit that you have nothing and need everything. You must rely on the kindness of others and not only on your own strength. You are compassionate because you understand what it means to be needy. You are humble because you have nothing to brag about. You easily admit that every good and perfect gift comes from God, because there is nowhere else it could come from.
These are the same reasons why being poor in spirit is a blessing. I can freely admit that I need help in my spiritual walk. I can have compassion on others who are spiritually destitute because I know their pain. When life tells me differently, when all hell breaks loose in my heart, I throw myself on Jesus, knowing that I am powerless to save myself. My faith is not enough. My good deeds are not enough. I doubt Him, get angry at Him, wonder if He loves me, and I admit I need Him. And I need others. And they need me. Because, even when you are poor, there is always something to share. Even if it's just a sholder to cry on and a heart of compassion.
I am blessed. Though my spirit is poor, the riches of the Kingdom of heaven belong to such as I.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.