poor in spirit

poor in spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven …

In Luke’s version, Jesus says, Blessed are you who are poor. Luke draws attention to Jesus’ offer of grace and favor to those people human society has cast aside. Luke celebrates Jesus’ stirring announcement of good news to the poor — to those who are quite literally poor. But in Matthew’s version, Jesus says, Blessed are the poor in spirit … Meaning those who recognize their own spiritual bankruptcy, who realize their desparate need for God’s grace and forgiveness? Probably …

But what if the word poor in this instance was still understood in its primitive sense as referrring to material poverty? Then what might Jesus mean by poor in spirit? Poor … in spirit. In spirit, laying aside claim to anything we may possess. Acknowledging in our hearts and minds that whether we have much or whether we have little, all that we have we hold in trust. It belongs to someone else. It is ours to use … at the pleasure of our Master.

When we are poor in spirit, our possessions do not control us. We let go. We let go of everything. We are poor … in spirit. We have nothing. And yet, we have everything … because ours is the kingdom of heaven! When we are poor in spirit, our possessions do not get in the way of our relationship with God. And when we are poor in spirit, our possessions do not get in the way of our relationships with each other. There are no “class” differences, because we are poor alike, and since what we have we hold in trust, what we have is readily shared. When we are truly poor in spirit, it may be that no one need be poor in reality! (See Acts 4:32-35!)

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