Poor in spirit doesn’t mean having no money, or does it?
I’ve been studying The Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5. The one that I’ve had to study to truly understand is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I’ve heard some preach and teach that the scripture is teaching that we should have a spirit of poverty, thus a life of poverty. But, that doesn’t make sense.
Does Poor in Spirit mean having no money?
God doesn’t want Christians to be poor, or else how would all the numerous, multitude of charities, hospitals and organizations have ever been formed where it was a ‘wealthy’ Christian or group of believers that labored together ?For instance The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity International, World Vision and Food for the Poor, Campus Crusade for Christ, Samaritan’s Purse all started with Christian roots. Even our local Dallas Methodist Hospital started in 1924 by a group of Methodist ministers and civic leaders. It was a support network of local congregations and other donors that helped that hospital open in 1927.
No, he wasn’t talking about physical poverty.
Jesus was very specific with his words. He said poor in spirit.
To be poor in spirit, maybe you need to understand the age in which Christ spoke the words. The age of Pharisees and Sadducees.
Who were the Sadducees?
The Sadducees were aristocratic and wealthy, held powerful positions (including that of chief and high priest) and they had ruling seats on a council (called the Sanhedrin). They were so ‘stuck on themselves’ that they even denied God’s involvement in everyday life. But, they held true to the books of Moses which wasGenesis thru Deuteronomy. So true to it that was all they would believe. On top of that, they were more concerned with politics than religion and didn’t even care about Jesus until they were afraid His works might would bring unwanted attention from the Romans. Just reading about them makes you Sad, you see (get it, SaddUCees…sorry a little bit of Children’s Bible School humor)
Who were the Pharisees?
Then we have the Pharisees. They were the middle-class type businessmen and were in actual contact with the ‘common’ man. They were a little more respected by Mr. Thomas Normal Guy since they were at least out and about in the market and on the streets with them. The Pharisees accepted the written word (what would now be our Old Testament) as the word of God, but they gave more authority to oral tradition because “it went way back to the day of Moses”. The problem with that is that they had stacked traditions on top of the law and wanted to obey those Traditions as if they WERE the Old Testament law.
How to be poor in spirit in the modern days
If you’ve done any reading in your Bible, you know that both the Pharisees and the Sadducees were rebuked from Jesus several times.
Maybe the the best lesson we can learn from the Pharisees and Sadducees is to not be like them.
- We are to believe everything the Bible says, including the miracles and life after death (Unlike the Sadducees).
- We are not to treat traditions as having an equal authority as Scripture. This means as a Believer you need to be sure and read the Word to make sure what is being preached and taught lines up with the Bible. (Unlike the Pharisees)
- We shouldn’t allow our personal relationship with God be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals. We should have a Living Faith.
- We should make sure our relationship and encounters with others doesn’t ever, EVER, convey a spirit of pride by maintaining a humble spirit. Christ’s love should abound. Christ’s love should be the filter for our mouth…..
You may know the scriptures inside and out and have the ability say many wise and theological things. But if you can’t talk to someone with the “simple” speak that even a child can understand you, then in their ears, you are just a loud, annoying gong.
Kim Steadman is the Content Curator and COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest, a place of encouragement for women who are ready to RePurpose and ReDesign themselves according to God’s purpose for their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. She is the author of the soon to be released book ““My Little Prayer Guide – Fill in the Blank Prayers for When Your Mind and Your Heart Need Help To Pray Together’ Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim