poor in spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It is worthy of double mention that this first blessing, “poor in spirit” is given rather to the absence than to the presence of praiseworthy qualities–it is a blessing not upon the man who is remarkable for that excellence–but in-fact upon a person, whose chief nature is that he confesses his own sad deficiencies! We believe this is intentional, in order that Grace may be all the more manifestly seen to be Grace, indeed, casting its eyes first, not upon purity, but upon poverty. Not upon showers of mercy, but upon those who need mercy. Not upon those who are called the children of God, but upon those who cry like the prodigal son, “I am not worthy to be called Your son.” God wants nothing of us except our needs and our need gives God the space to display His abundance when He freely supplies to us! It is from the worse and not from the better side of the fallen man that the Lord gains glory for Himself. Not from what we have, but from what we do not have, is the first point of contact between our soul and God.
“And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘ (Luke 12:19)
We read of a rich fool in the scripture. Riches don’t guarantee wisdom. This rich man was obsessed with his so called “plenty.” Is it true, that only the rich are obsessed? Isn’t this “plenty” attitude ingrained in every human--“I have plenty of friends to help me, I don’t need any one (for some, even God)” “I have plenty of money, riches” “I have plenty of time, I will repent tomorrow.” “I have plenty of……..” But this thing called “plenty” is vain hope in the day we stand before the Lord. When our eyes are consumed by the “plenties”, we become rich towards them and not towards God, and so was this rich man. We fail to see the misery of our soul. But happy are those, that are poor in spirit.
The rich man was full of the world. He was obsessed with himself like the Pharisee we read of.
- He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
- ‘This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones,
- There I will store my surplus grain.
- And I will say to myself, “You (self) have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’
Is this true “merry” or “happiness”? We can be obsessed with our dream, our career, our plans, goals, etc. They can never bring true happiness. For this man, there was no God anywhere. He was rich towards the world but poor towards God. Yet, the irony is that he was completely unaware of his own spiritual poverty, nor was he “poor in spirit” to seek the true riches, which is God Himself.
“After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Gen 15:1)
Seldom humans cry for the miseries of their soul, for their spiritual deficiencies; it is because they can’t see the misery of their souls, like this rich man, like the Pharisee; had they seen, they would come to the throne of God. We can’t guarantee, if our own life would last longer than our “plenties” in which we trust. For this rich man, his “plenty” remained but he was not. When we cry for the misery, deficiencies of our soul, the Lord will hear us.
We have not, because we ask not…