Each year Baruch Senior Ministries has a theme. This year’s theme is the Beatitudes (a condition or statement of blessedness) as recorded in Matthew 5:3-12:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Poor in Spirit

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

The word that sticks out to me in this verse is “poor.” When I think of “poor,” I think of someone in substantial need. However, here “poor” does not refer to substantial need as in physical or material: it refers to our substantial spiritual bankruptcy. We are sinners, under God’s wrath and judgment. Romans 3:9-20 tells us we have nothing to offer, nothing to give, nothing to buy our way to heaven. Therefore, we are poor in spirit. We need to acknowledge we are self-centered, superficial, not willing to forgive and that we have no claim on God.  We need to empty ourselves of ourselves. The tragedy is when we do not admit being poor in spirit.

What happens when we admit our spiritual poverty? We are given the kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33 tells us: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. For God’s rule which brings salvation is a gift as absolutely free as it is utterly underserved (John Stott). Here, we find God’s promise as a result of admitting we are poor in spirit: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:20-21).

At times we are oblivious to our spiritual poverty. Other times we are very aware of our failings and how we depend on the Lord. What is the spiritual poverty in your life? In what areas do you acknowledge or not acknowledge your neediness?

As you navigate being poor in spirit, pray for a new awareness of your spiritual poverty and his generosity, and remember to give thanks that you are a part of his kingdom!!!

Walking with you in poverty and blessedness,

Chaplain Val