Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bankrupt and Happy

PoorWhat if I told you that those who have nothing, and know they have nothing are the happiest people in the world? Jesus said something like that.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”    (Matthew 5:3 NKJV)
The word “poor” comes from a word meaning to shrink, cower, or cringe. It pictures the destitute beggar who has one hand out begging while the other hand covers his face because of shame.
The person who is this kind of poor has nothing and is completely wiped out. Jesus is speaking here of our spiritual need – we are destitute, spiritually bankrupt before God and in need of God’s help to experience forgiveness and eternal life.
To be “poor in spirit” is to recognize how spiritually destitute and utterly dependent I am upon God. It is the attitude of the tax collector or publican in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18. Jesus said this man stood far back, He did not even look up. He was so conscious of his guilt, his sinfulness before a holy God. He beat his breast as an expression of his deep sorrow over his sinfulness. And his prayer was not very elegant, “GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER.”
This man was poor in spirit. And Jesus said, “THIS MAN WENT HOME JUSTIFIED.”
The beginning point of our relationship with God is for us to understand that we have nothing to bring to God. We can only beg for His mercy and grace because we are spiritually destitute. Dietrich Bonhhoeffer said those who are poor in spirit are, “so inexperienced, so stupid, that they have no other hope but Him who called them.”
Seiji Yamashita writes as justapen at the The Ignition Point blog. He describes so well his poverty of spirit in the poem “Now Is the Time.” Here is an excerpt:
Now is a time to change
to rearrange life & priorities
because I’m sick & tired
worn out
blown out
knocked out and shut down
by the world I see, the world of ME.
Enough of this world of internalized fandom
Help me help you create The Heavenly Kingdom.
The attitude of poverty of spirit brings us to the place where we can receive the kingdom from the king. Do you know why the poor in spirit are blessed? Because when you embrace your poverty you find that He opens His arms of love and accepts you just as you are.
Why spend your life trying to impress God when all He wants is for you to be impressed with Him and His grace?

Want to read more from my series on the beatitudes? See Attitude Check and What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?


  1. Thanks for the link love. And thanks for the series on the beatitudes, it's one of those sections that everyone is supposed to know all about already, but no one seems to really talk all that much about it. Thanks again!

  2. It wasn't until I gave up everything that I had for God, that I suddenly had everything that I wanted. I wish more could understand this.

  3. Justapen,
    Your poem said it better than I could. Thank you.

  4. Kevin,
    The hardest thing to give up is myself. But it is the only way into the kingdom of heaven.


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