Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

Blessed are the POOR... in Spirit? Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the POOR.... in spirit #bloggingontheGO Matthew 5:3 NIV "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." GREETINGS! BlogFam, In this age where bigger is better, faster is the preference, and what is most popular is supposed to be the best person, place, or thing out there, well, you know and I know that I know that BLESSED ARE THE POOR is not what people want to hear!!!!! You can be honest with yourself and with me, if your pastor did a series on THE CHOICE TO BE POOR, would you buy that CD or DVD series? Maybe? It depends on what kind of POOR he or she was talking about? Really? Please tell me the kind of POOR that you prefer to experience. But before you do that, lets get on the same page regarding the definition of what it means to be POOR. POOR means... having little or no money, goods or other means of support; deficient or lacking in something specified; faulty or inferior; deficient in desirable ingredients, qualities, or the like; excessively lean or emaciated; of an inferior, inadequate, or unsatisfactory kind; lacking in skill, ability, or training; deficient in moral excellence, cowardly, abject, or mean; scanty, meager, or paltry in amount or number; unfortunate or hapless. This is what it means to be POOR! Now tell me who would volunteer to teach this class, preach this sermon, or buy this CD or DVD. Friends, this is the age we live in. We know that there are poor among us but I'm almost 100% sure that I cannot name or identify one person I know who wants to be informed of the status of the poor so that they, too, can intentionally have that kind of mindset or pursue such a lifestyle...including those who are poor! I do strongly believe that we should be doing our best to serve the poor, empower the poor to transform their situation from the inside - out, and correct the systemic challenges that keep the poor, poor. So I am not at all dismissing the reality of their situation, neither am I ignoring all of our connection to it because they are our neighbors. All I am saying is this.... if any of us have the CHOICE to be POOR versus being financially comfortable, and not necessarily even rich, I just do NOT think that any one of us would choose the lifestyle of the POOR (except for a few monks and nuns around the world who believe that poverty is God's call on their life). Now, this is all very interesting and intriguing to me because when I read Jesus opening statement from The Sermon on the Mount, I may have been one of those people who got intellectually stuck with his very first words.... BLESSED ARE THE POOR!!! WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT!?!? Come on BlogFam! Let's just continue to keep it REAL! Because you probably would have given Jesus the side eye as well! BLESSED ARE THE POOR? As hard as I work, as much education as I have, as nice as your car is, as big as your house is, as great as that promotion will be, The Right Reverend, Most High And Holy Jesus is preaching BLESSED ARE THE POOR! That does not make any sense!!! Well, friends, let us ALL, including myself, give Jesus the benefit of our doubt...... for Jesus actually says.... Matthew 5:3 NIV "Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." OK. So I admit that at first read, and in light of the definition of the word POOR, reading or hearing the entire verse does not immediately give us hope to dispel the doubt we were giving Jesus the benefit of. I mean, think about it. When is the last time you were advised by anyone to be POOR IN YOUR SPIRIT? If anything, we are all strongly encouraged to be RICH in spirit so we can pray more, give more, read the Bible more, serve more, praise more, love more, and even celebrate God more. More, increase, abundance, and overflow are what we are most accustomed to hearing and teaching and singing and preaching and praying. More not less, and Prosperity not poverty is our desire. BUT JESUS SAYS... Matthew 5:3 NIV "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." In this 21st century, that sounds strange and unappealing and even the Lord knows you can't raise a good offering talking like that!!! BUT THEN AGAIN.... this is Jesus speaking and considering the source, I think this statement deserves another thoughtful consideration. Jesus teaches with the intent to transform our lives and in doing so, Jesus says lots of things that need a second glance. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." OK. My friends, did you see the second part of this verse? "... For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Wow! Jesus is sharing with us a key to a life and a mindset that rises above our narrow understanding of wealth and prosperity. I am not even referring to the mansion in the sky or the streets paved with gold.... and I do not think Jesus is either. This kingdom... this kingdom of heaven is a state of mind, a state of being that surpasses the laws, economy, the class structure of this land. The kingdom of heaven is acknowledging that God is the Creator and super-ruler of the universe and surrendering to that authority in your own heart. This is why its so easy for us to shut down on the word poor but perk up on the word kingdom. We have been conditioned in ways that keep us bound by prioritizing the structures of this world over, against, and above the word, the will, the way of the Almighty GOD. In THIS verse, Jesus does not condemn the financially rich or poor but He uses the kind of language that will most closely get our attention. Even in the Bible, Jesus knew what we have repeated time and time again.... Money Talks! So Jesus uses money type of language...poor...kingdom... in order to make His point and to ultimately transform our lives. BlogFam, there is one more definition of POOR that I did not mention, which I believe will help us to unlock the meaning of this verse. To be POOR also means to be HUMBLE or MODEST. BLESSED ARE THE HUMBLE or MODEST IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. How does that sound to you? Doesn't it sound different? Friends, I believe that the challenge for all of us on today is not to stress and strain to have or possess or take over the kingdom but to realize the blessing of humility. For in our humility, Jesus confirms, that the kingdom of heaven is already ours. Furthermore, the poverty in spirit that Jesus invites us to accept is the poverty that leaves our lives deficient, lacking, and scanty in pride, selfishness, arrogance, self-importance, and inflated ego. Our spirit needs to be poor regarding anything within our hearts and minds that would compete with, contradict, criticize, or confront the Holy Spirit. Lord, forgive us and help us all! In Jesus Name we are those who are.... "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs, ours, is the kingdom of heaven." AMEN. GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!!! Blessings, Delesslyn FOLLOW on Twitter @AudraSunshine and @SpiritedConcept SUBSCRIBE to get regular blog emailed updates and LISTEN to Kids Korner ONLINE every Sunday evening 4:15C/5:15E at P.S. - Moving forward, my NEW writing goal will be 3-5 days per week, most likely not to include Sundays! So SUBSCRIBE so you do not miss any posts and SHARE the blog with somebody else!!!
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