November 02, 2006

Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:1-12

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3


Some people have called the Sermon on the Mount the constitution of the kingdom of God. Near the beginning of his ministry, Jesus used this sermon to show how we should live as his followers.

It's interesting that the first characteristic of a kingdom citizen is to be "poor in spirit." The word "poor" describes a person who is in great need and is dependent on someone else. To be poor in spirit is the opposite of being proud, which tends to be the root of most, if not all, other sins.

A person who is "poor in spirit" is someone who trusts in God. Many people think they can handle whatever life throws at them. They think they are the captain of their soul and the master of their fate. Citizens of God's kingdom, however, know they need the Lord and are dependent on God. Psalm 34:6 tells us, "This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles."

Jesus told a story about a man who thought he had everything he needed, but God called him a fool (see Luke 12:13-21). Billy Graham writes, "It never occurred to [that man] that the soul cannot subsist, and that the heart cannot be nourished by wine and food."

Only the poor in spirit, who know they need God, will inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Father in heaven, I have no resources of my own to meet life's challenges, and I cannot cope with life on my own. Help me always to remember that I need you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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