NOTE: All quotes are from the New International Version ©2010.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If you gave away all your money, you would be poor. Right? Well, God wants you to give away every spiritual thing you have, every gift of the spirit, every ounce of faith you can muster. Give it to family, friends, neighbors, strangers. Give it until you are totally drained. Live for the Kingdom, not for yourself. Give spiritual life to others until you feel utterly empty. Then God can fill you and you can give some more. This is the life God approves of.
Poverty of the spirit has nothing to do with being a doubting Thomas. It is all about giving everything you have got until you feel poor (perhaps inadequate) and that you have nothing left to give. Go out and this one will reject you, that will laugh at you, the other will never speak to you again. One will be fed, another clothed and another may be sheltered, but at the end of the day, day after day, we will go home feeling drained and useless. We will know our emptiness and admit to God, “I’m just no good at this. I am so lacking (poor) in the skills the abilities to make a difference and so ineffective…” Then God will come to you and fill you and then you will understand what it means to be blessed.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
For whom do you mourn. The dead? Why? They are in a far, far better place than they have ever known (as Dickens said). Instead, I mourn for people who are dead already in their sins and this broken existence. There is one unforgivable sin: the rejection of Jesus. This is calling the Holy Spirit a liar (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) when the Spirit of God tells us that Jesus is the way, the life and the truth – the only name by which people MUST be saved. When people reject this word of truth and reject Jesus, they remain dead in their sins as the Scriptures tell us. When our hearts grieve and pray fervently for those who are already dead even though they still walk on this earth, then God will comfort us.
We cannot see the whole picture. We are looking at ourselves in the mirror in a darkened room and trying to imagine our shape. But God is working his purposes out and we, and all we do are included in that. What we see as ineffective may be the most effective thing in time. God knows. God comforts.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
This has nothing to do with milk toasts, wallflowers or any self-effacing nonsense. Meekness or humility is best summed up in the statement: “God is God. You and I are not.” We are to work with all effort, determination, perseverance, fortitude (strength and courage) and do everything we can in every way we can, and when we are done, trust God for the rest. We cannot and should not try to control others. Only God decides, and we can do well if we can get control of ourselves – our words and deeds. Be content with that and let God be God; or as some say, when you have done everything you can do you must let go and let God.
The phrase is traditionally understood as the rich man looking at the poor and admitting to themselves, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Did you ever turn the phrase around? In looking at the rich man, the poor might say with equal honesty, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” God is in control and will work his purposes out. We know this, instinctively, hard as it is sometimes to hear.
The humble are CONTENT do all they can do and are willing to let God work things out for others and ultimately for ourselves in his own way and in his own good time. He is the potter and we are the clay. And when we have done all we can, as Paul said, we will confess that we have simply done our duty. We are the servants. He is the Master, and I, for one, will be glad to hear those words: “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
To be continued…