The keys to happiness delivered by Jesus contain the paradox of a blessing in poverty.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:1-3
This beatitude encourages an inner quality of sacrificial humility.
The disciples literally gave up their source of income to follow Jesus Christ. Peter, James, John, Andrew all forsook their fishing business. Matthew forsook his tax collecting. They literally impoverished themselves for the sake of the Gospel. Although Christ does not require an oath of poverty, He has given us a promise of blessing when we suffer for His sake. Suffering yields spiritual reward in this life.
This beatitude celebrates the inner quality of poverty.
Not poverty of possessions or finances, but the lack of pride in one’s spirit. God’s concern for the humble is their spirit, not their bank balance. Those with plenty often struggle with God’s existence. The poor usually do not. They are the ones who glean off God’s goodness.
God wants to help the down trodden of society by reviving their heart.
That is why the poor in spirit are the ones given this promise for blessing. This spirit is one of repentance, not greed. Money is not what God requires: He asks for a good spirit from your heart.
revision of original published 17 March 2009
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Pain hurts. Most people avoid pain at all costs; however, pain is a part of life. Learning to deal with pain is a mark of maturity. God has promised blessings for those who mourn among which is the blessing of comfort.
Our Lord promises comfort to those who boldly lament and are not ashamed of their grief. Sorrow is a painful aspect of human existence. This Beatitude encourages Christ’s disciples to deal with it, not avoid it.
Those who try to run from pain’s reality do so at a cost. Indeed, most people do not realize the extravagant expense of avoiding pain. Those who refuse to deal with something in their life causing pain are only putting off the inevitable and intensifying the sorrow.
Remember this: if you avoid the pain, you are also avoiding the comfort.
- Your broken heartedness will be comforted.
- Your ashes associated with death and mourning will be exchanged for beauty just as the ancient patriarch Job.
- Your black garments worn to mourn the loss of someone beloved will be exchanged for one of praise.
- Your heavy, burdensome clothing of sacrifice will be exchanged for something much lighter, for Christ has proclaimed His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Read 10 full length studies on the Beatitudes in my latest publication: Beauty from the Mountain.