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10th December: Beatitudes (1) -- Poverty that is Rich

Happy are they who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of God belong to them. Mt 5:3 (GNB)

Everyone seeks for happiness. Jesus reveals its secret. He turns the values of the world upside down. Here he tells us that the poor are the ones who are really rich for they possess the kingdom of heaven.

But the poverty of which he speaks is not financial. It is independent too of temperament, even of those who are diffident, shy and self-effacing by nature. It is irrespective of professional status and even of our conscientious service for others. The number of admissions we have checked today, the overtime we have uncomplainingly put in, these contribute nothing to bridge the gap between us and the kingdom of God. Nor does even what we may regard as our spiritual status -- the Christian `stable' we have come from, or the church duties we have undertaken -- qualify us to possess the kingdom.

Poverty of spirit comes from a recognition of who we are and what we are like in the sight of a holy God, our Creator and Redeemer, and a realisation of our utter spiritual bankruptcy and total dependence on his mercy and grace towards us. It is a poverty that drives us day to day in repentance to the cross of our Saviour, who died and rose again to make the worthless worthy of his kingdom (Rom 3:23,24).

To such his kingdom belongs now, as daily we experience the riches of his grace, on the wards, in the mess, in the theatre. But there is more to come. Ours is an assured eternal inheritance, imperishable, undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by God's power (1 Pet 1:4-5). We shall come fully into that inheritance when Christ calls us or comes to take us to be in his presence for ever. The kingdom of God belongs to the spiritually poor solely because of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we come to that cross of Jesus with the words -

`Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling'

we have the certainty and security of his assurance that the kingdom of God does indeed belong to us now and for ever.

`Look at him, keep looking at him. You cannot truly look at him
without feeling your absolute poverty and emptiness. But he is the
all-sufficient one'.

M Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

Yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Further reading: 1 Pet 1:3-9. Rev 3:17-21.


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