the blessing of poverty


The word Poverty carries with it a strong negative connotation, oppressively, conveying heavy weights of ostracism which permeates everything in our modern world, including advertisement, entertainment, career, and even spirituality, all of which sets itself against the encroachments of poverty. Man does not want to be poor!

The weight of self love looms heavy on the hearts of men, deceiving him, and acting like a self-righteous  bulwark against suffering the shame of poorness; keeping him at odds with the spiritual realities of the Kingdom of Heaven, due to ignorance. The bulwarks of self worth, human constructs of intellectual adverseness,  protects him in his delusions, from a suffering world. The self of man holds him down, aloof, crushing him beneath the guilt and indifference, without understanding as to what causes the suffering, and being unaware that his own pursuits, and circular reasoning, adds to the poverty and suffering in the world. Serving only himself, man has no way out. The best that he can do about his condition is to divert his attention away from what is the truth, what is the reality. In this effort, any reference towards poverty as a worthy theme, is anathema. 

To be poor to the man of the world, is worse than death. Most would agree with the belief that poverty is a curse (I would say that being spiritually dead is a greater curse). Poverty, as far as intellect can communicate to the human psych, is an indictment against him; for it is assumed in the world, that poverty is a curse, and those who are poor should be full of shame, and self loathing. How hard is it then, Just as Jesus tells us, Matthew 19:23-25, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” 

How hard it is for the man of this world to believe that there is indeed blessedness in poverty, when his understanding of poverty is so limited to earthly references. It goes against everything he is taught. The idea is not just foreign to him, but is subconsciously, or consciously by some,  perceived as doing violence to his well being. The whole idea of poverty is regarded as anti human. The pride of life gives to man a sense of being above what he so disdains. How hard it is for this pride to be persuaded otherwise. It is near impossible, but for the Grace of God! 

How many today would consider buying anything that was advertised as making one poor? Just the opposite is true, is it not? Who would think to allow themselves to be entertained by the poverty and suffering of mankind? Or, who would find it entertaining to deny themselves the very things that would take them out of suffering and poverty? Who today would take on a career designed to make one poor, for the purpose of suffering? And who would want a spirituality that insists on poverty?  Yet this is the concept of many, regarding the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

The world rejects the idea of poverty, with every billboard, TV commercial,  internet promotion,  career opportunity, and Church video. The world has set itself against poverty, to such an extent, that any approach to the word poor, brings a level of consternation. The adverseness to poverty is not just in the world, it is in the modern day church as well, in equal proportions. Distain, rejection, abhorrence, denial, is it any wonder that the words of Jesus claiming such blessedness for those Poor in Spirit are not only misunderstood by the many, but ignored. There is no bases for understanding of this teaching in the world. Yet, if the church can only hear the words of Jesus through the ears of self love, how great then, is the need to have ears that hear, and eyes that see, and hearts that are willing to believe, and love, every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God? Love of God itself is what makes us  capable of hearing truth.

Some people, perhaps, fancy that they would, and do, accept a spiritual sense of poverty. Something they have determined being essential in some way, to peace of mind, and wholeness of “spirit”. And so, they may seek  out forms of expression, forms of communication, that would ease their conscience towards God by exhibiting semblance of humility towards poverty. They would feign towards something that suggested their real self is empty somehow, so to be in conformity to the teachings of Jesus. And yet, for them, this is their self made spiritual poverty (which would be a dichotomy). Expressions of this have come in form of feeding stations, clothing outlets, even hospitals, going to foreign lands for mission trips, etc. along with many other personal expressions.

 Especially were there those in the Middle Ages who emphasized a form of poverty, and spent their personal lives living in objection to the material world. There are those today, in various persuasions, be it religious or social, who imagine they accept true poverty, and therefore understand what Jesus meant when He says that the poor are blessed. The problem with this approach is simply, that denial of self for self, is not a denial of anything, but only a preference shown against that which would actually be true denial. Jesus never calls us to a vow of poverty. He actually teaches us to not make any vows at all (Matt. 5:34-37). So any concept of poverty through means of vows are done irrespective of the teaching of Jesus. On the contrary, the Apostle Paul admonishes Christians to work! (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Working has nothing to do with poverty or wealth. Neither are to be the pursuits of the Christian. Neither should there be made vows towards.

For one to deny the self for self, as in Buddhism, etc. is a fallacy. There is actually no real denial of self when the act is done for the self. It’s just an act of the self to be one way or the other. In Buddhism, the goal is to overcome suffering  through meditating upon”nothingness, emptiness”. And yet, as long as these efforts have been made, nothing at all has been the outcome. It is death that leads to death. Self that serves the self, continually, over and over – resulting in even more abject poverty and suffering. This result is found in every expression of self righteous self denial of man. 

The truth about mans righteousness is apparent in his ability to change the course of poverty on the earth. He will be forever striving to obtain that which is not in his ability to grasp. To put this in very simple terms, life itself is, and can only be, that of abject poverty, without the Life of God being served. Only in God does man prosper. He is the source of life, and breath! He alone gives sustenance for creation. Man, in himself, will ever be constructing bulwarks of pride, arrogance, indifference, aversion, until he comes to his bitter end; Unless he is to come down from his pride, and find true poverty of spirit, that brings blessing, and a Kingdom!

When the self is in charge, self righteousness abounds, and the pull from one side to the other is extreme. One moment a desire to prosper, the next, that of poverty; all according to the imagining of what perceptually might work in becoming more spiritually minded. But all of this brings nothing. It does not, and never has, helped the human race.

The blessings of poverty are not found in earthly concepts, but heavenly. These blessings are not bound up in material realities, but spiritual truths. They are not produced by the will of man, but God’s Will being done. The rich young ruler struggled over the words of Jesus because of his preconceived notions of poverty (Matt. 19:16-22) The notions were that of wealth only in what is man made. God’s riches are eternal. Mans wealth will end in death. The treasures of this earth will pass away.

It is a true statement, that man is his worse enemy. He destroys himself with his self love, and blinds his searching eyes to help. He renders his own self serving pursuits as exercises in vanity, that end in death, not life.

Jesus says to all who would have ears to hear, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus describes Himself in Matthew 5:3, as One who is Poor in Spirit. Come now, all you who are heavy laden with the pride of life, and learn of Him, and find rest for your souls. Trust Him today. Believe on Him, and turn to Him, in spite of what fears may be hammering against the bulwarks of self love. The weight of this world is great! What Jesus offers us is easy to bear, and the burden is light. Hallelujah! 

I pray that all who read these words would come to the understanding that Jesus words are Spirit, and Life! See Him, who calls you unto Holiness! He describes Himself in the Gospels. He unfolds His nature within the frame of a human narrative, for our benefit, to bring unto us a New Birth in Him. He was the Son of God, and the Son of Man, Hallelujah! What He has described of Himself in the Beatitudes is as a man, who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God. And He calls us today, as He is the Savior, to come, and follow Him. Lay your burden down, and follow Jesus. Learn from the Master what it means to be Poor in Spirit! – Give up the pride, the indifference, the haughtiness, for New Life! – For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Joy unspeakable! Full of glory! Oh, the Life of Jesus given for us, to us, is abounding in Grace and Mercy! Eternal blessing the world knows nothing about. But all who follow Jesus, will receive the blessings of living in Heavens reality! They will come to know the blessings of being Christlike, according to the Image of God in Him, as those who are Poor in Spirit, just like Jesus Christ! 

Do no be afraid to humble yourself before God. He knows your frame. He sees your heart. He understands your confusion about His Own Words. He knows that the difference between Spiritual words and the earthly, is vast, and understands your misunderstandings because of the world that surrounds us. He is willing to teach you all things, in and through the Person of Jesus Christ, as the Spirit of God has revealed it through Him, to us who believe. Amen!

JMJ


Categories: Sermon on the MountTags: , , , ,
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