March 13, 2015

Why we should all strive to be poor

In a world where material riches is often equated with spiritual blessing nobody wants less.

We all want more.

Things weren't totally different in Jesus' times, either. Those who had wealth were often seen as more spiritual.

They loved to fluent their riches.

Let's not kid ourselves, we fall prey to the very same temptation. We want to measure our worth by what we have.

We want others to do so, too.

But Jesus presented a different approach. His kingdom economics were radically different. And for some, impossible to understand. The math just didn't add up for them.

Jesus aproached things spiritually.

They thought in natural terms. Their eyes were on the outward. His were on the inward. They looked to the temporal. He focused on the eternal.

"Great blessings belong to you who are poor..."

And by poor, He meant destitute. Completely impoverished. There were social and economic classes in His time just as there are in ours. We're talking no resources.

"God's kingdom belongs to you.."

How maddening that must have made the religious crowd to hear. How offensive to those who judged their position with God by their possessions, ability to keep the law, or pedigree.

He shattered illusions.

Jesus' wanted them to understand, and for us to also grasp these words. He knew it must first be understood that He was speaking of spiritual poverty. Being poor in spirit means having no spiritual resources.

Why would poverty be a blessing?

Because those who are able to acknowledge their "poverty of the spirit" realize that because they have absolutely nothing, they must rely on God for absolutely everything they need.

This is a prerequisite for receiving the kingdom.

As long as a person is under the illusion that they are spiritually resourceful they are unable and unwilling to rely on God.

Their default will always be fleshly, worldly, and temporal.

But, when a person acknowledges that they are nothing and have nothing apart from God they are able to experience what is spiritual, heavenly, and eternal.

This where the kingdom lies.

Which is why each one of us should strive to be poor. We should desire to be beggars living in abject poverty.

Poor in spirit.

Apart from recognizing our state of spiritual destitution we have no way of fully relating to or relying on God. And isn't that what kingdom living requires? Fully relating and relying on God.

To do so we must be beggars. Dirt poor. Broke. Busted.

"Jesus looked at his followers and said, “Great blessings belong to you who are poor. God’s kingdom belongs to you." Luke 6:20 ERV

I'm reading through the Gospels during Lent using the YouVersion app. Every day has brought fresh takeaways. This is one of them.

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