Saturday, December 28, 2013

Poor in Spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." ~Matthew 5:3

As a former Sunday school going, AWANA song singing, Christian school graduate, I have the Beattitudes written on my frontal lobe. The "BE" attitudes as I was trained to think of them always left me vaguely confused. I pictured the Jesus you see on Catholic candles at the Dollar Tree, perched on a mossy rock and intoning spiritual mysteries... which remained to me entirely mysterious. Was I supposed to be sad? Was I supposed to be hungry? Was I supposed to be called names? Since I was "blessed" when those things happened,  was I supposed somehow feel better?

Over the past several months, I have felt a renewed interest in this strange collection of blessings. It started on a day when I felt like all cheer and the very life had drained out of my soul. Circling down a highway off-ramp, I felt rather than heard these words: Blessed are the poor in spirit.

If you wonder what spiritual poverty is, you need not look to Mother Theresa or David Livingstone or the pope. You have surely felt it. It's the draining away of your spiritual resources. When your inner strength fails; when your joy, hope, peace and faith take flight; when all motivation, courage, wisdom and creativity are tapped -- that's spiritual poverty. The truth is, we are all always poor in spirit. Easy circumstances cause our meager spiritual resources to appear sufficient, but when things take a turn (even a small turn -- broken plans, messy houses, worn out clothes), we realize our lack. It is then that we may choose to accept our own insufficiency and lift trembling hands to the very Source. I may be utterly sapped, but the whole kingdom of heaven is mine -- the very joy, peace, hope, faith, strength, courage, wisdom and creativity of God are mine. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit. Such small words hold such lavish meaning. When you are utterly spent, lift up your hands and all of the resources of heaven will be thrown down at you.

Matthew 5:3 ; Isaiah 61:1; Isaiah 66:2