Mt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Most people associate blessings with material prosperity. When one gets a well paying job, we like to think and say that he is blessed. We talk of being blessed with a new car, being blessed with a good house, a good education etc. But Jesus however said blessed are the poor in Spirit. Jesus also gave a parable of a poor man ( A beggar) named Lazarus who after death received royal escort of angels to the bosom of Abraham.
Moreover Jesus taught that to those poor in spirit belongs the kingdom of heaven. Simply put, if we want to inherit the kingdom of heaven, we need to be counted among the poor in spirit. We therefore need to understand what it means to be poor in spirit.
The poor have nothing of their own, they are mostly dependent on a benefactor and are loyal to the benefactor. They can never be independent and therefore do not have their own will or way. The way of the master is their way. The poor are humble. They have nothing to take pride in and are therefore obedient to their master. That is the attitude that Jesus recommends for those that would like to inherit the kingdom of God. Consider the following verses.
Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
Pr 16:19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Pr 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
Isa 57:15 For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Isa 66:2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.
Lu 6:20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
The world tends to despise the poor, but God appears to esteem the poor in spirit. He gives grace to the humble. Christ also indicates that His coming had a lot to do with the poor and the disadvantaged.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
Jesus also said something about the disadvantage of being rich in this earth; “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23)
“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mt.19:24)
This is tough gospel. Nearly all of us want to be rich. Many sermons will be preached today on how you can prosper. Are we heeding Jesus message?
Jesus did not just talk about the poor, but the poor in spirit. The problem with riches is the tendency to make people proud. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Ti 6:9)
We have some people who are rich in material goods, but remain poor in spirit. People like Abraham, Job and king David fall in this lot. They were rich but yet remained with a Godly humble attitude.
Whatever level of prosperity you are in you can maintain an attitude of being poor in spirit. Paul therefore advised Timothy to “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” (1Ti 6:17)
Finally, there is a promise to the poor in spirit. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What a great inheritance. May we all strive to maintain this beatitude of being poor in spirit.