For the next few weeks I will be posting short discussions on each of the Beatitudes and how the one links to the next one like the rungs on a ladder. Suggested reading is from Matthew 5:1-12.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His disciples what it truly means to be blessed. People nowadays have the inclination to measure someone’s blessings by how many material gifts they receive from God. We see a different measurement given by our Lord here. In fact, the things that Jesus says are signs of God’s blessings, are actually quite adverse conditions from the world’s perspective. By the way some people measure blessedness (e.g. material wealth and prosperity), they may shrug off these blessed ones as forgotten by God.
David, in Psalm 32, said a person whose sins are not counted against him is blessed. People who place their trust in God are called blessed in many places in the psalms. Those who take refuge in God instead of their own understanding are called blessed and Jesus gives us even further insight into who are the truly blessed ones. He doesn’t refer to material wealth once. In fact, He starts off by referring to poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
He does not of course mean that poor people are blessed simply for the sake of their financial lack, but He is referring to a spiritual poverty where a person has reached a point where he realizes that “I can bring Thee nothing, all O LORD art Thou.” He has looked deep into his heart and realized that there is nothing good there. This is the first step in being blessed. Such a person is very close to the kingdom of God. He has realized his need for God. The world calls you blessed when you have confidence in your own abilities. God calls you blessed when you have confidence in His abilities.