October 02, 2013

Only the Outsiders Are Insiders

Matthew 5:3-5

“Blessed are the poor in spirit …”
—Matthew 5:3


Not long ago, a frequent flyer achieved what only a handful of others have done: he logged his one millionth mile with the airline of his choice. The airline rewarded him with a VIP reception and a members-only reservation number. Best of all, they named a 747 jumbo jet in his honor! Status has its privileges.

Often the voices of our culture send the same message. We are told that the way to gain status is to earn it. We are rewarded for loyalty. We gain standing in our community or workplace by proving ourselves worthy, by presenting an ideal image of ourselves to those around us. Opportunities are open to those who know the right people and can fit the right mold.

As a result, many people think the key to spiritual happiness lies within ourselves. Work hard to meet your goals! God helps those who help themselves!

Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount by turning that message on its head. Happiness isn’t for those who think they can earn it! It’s not for those who come to Jesus with a long list of achievements. It’s for those who are empty. Broken. Bankrupt. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people who admit they have no way to enter in without God’s help. He offers new life, full and free, to all who trust in his power to save. Give God your brokenness, and he will give you full life!

Gracious God, we don’t like to admit our brokenness. But we realize we have nothing to bring you. Help us to trust in you to save us and to give us new life! Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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