“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read over this passage and thought to myself, “Ok, be like poor folk, do without, make sacrifices.” and then carried on about my business. This was however, before I really dug down into the Word and took the time to study the word “poor”. The word “poor” to me has been warped into focusing on what others were doing without. Poor people do not have as much as others, so for me to be poor in spirit, I should limit myself to luxuries to remain humble in nature. I would think about the people back in biblical times who were able to take care of themselves, but still depend on the help of others to get by. That was poor to me. The old man who could walk, but could not carry a load. The woman who was capable of taking care of her household, but had no financial means because she was widowed. My study in the be-attitudes revealed something much more deeper and significant than that.
The word “poor” in the context of Matthew 5:3 means to be completely helpless without outside assistance. To be destitute. To be bent. Ptochos. Imagine the man in John chapter 5 who waited at the pool of Bethesda to hopefully be picked up by a compassionate person, and placed into the pool. He was completely and utterly destitute. He could do nothing on his own without outside help. The man was at the complete mercy of another’s power to carry him on. Let that sink in. Are you at the complete mercy of another’s power to carry you on? This is the “poor” we must strive for as mentioned in Matthew 5:3. To be helpless without the aid of an outside source. To truly be poor in spirit, we must acknowledge and completely surrender to the fact that we desperately need God. We must allow our hearts to be approachable by Him, we must be willing to be corrected by Him, and we must be willing to learn from Him. This is poor in spirit. It is not a high and mighty self sacrifice of things, because in all honesty, we are controlling that sacrifice. It is a deep and utter helplessness of spirit because we simply cannot function without the power of our Creator.
I admit, it is hard to wrap my mind around this concept. When I was a child, my dad used to show me how to change tires, fix flats, check the oil, change fuses, and spark plugs, along with many other things a man is supposed to do. He showed me these things to help me understand that I had to be self sufficient, he told me I can’t depend on others to take care of me. On the other hand, he would also chime in, “When you get married, your husband needs to do these things for you; it’s his job to take care of you, and you better let him, but at the same time he may not always be there to save you.” Reading and picking apart Matthew 5:3 has really made me focus on rewiring my mind to the type of destitute state of spirit I need to be in in order to fully comprehend the power at work within me through Christ. The verse in Philippians 4:13 which states, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”, simply cannot carry through if I do not allow myself to be poor in spirit. This verse is proclaimed with great pride and conviction through someone who is completely dependent in spirit. It is simply a beautiful thing.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are you who completely and totally surrender all your being to the One who created you. Blessed are you who acknowledge you are desolate without the blood of your savior. Blessed are you who are willing to be carried. For yours is the kingdom of heaven. Amen.