Daily Devotional 2-10-20

The Bliss of the Destitute
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

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

Poverty is not a word we want to be associated with. The poor are often isolated, if not ostracized by society. In fact, the wisdom of the poor is even despised. So, we work hard to get ourselves in a decent place in society. Therefore, it is quite surprising that Jesus would begin His teaching with an emphasis on the richness of the poor in spirit. 

In Greek, the word poor means utter/absolute destitution. It describes poverty beaten to its knees. Also, in Hebrew, poverty describes a person who has no earthly resource, and as a result, has put his trust in God. Therefore, putting the two meanings could read something like, “blessed is the person who has realized his/her helplessness and has put his/her trust in God.” This poverty has two sides of blessing: a complete detachment from things, and an attachment to God. Such poverty knows that life does not consist of the abundance of possession. It knows that true happiness and security do not come from things. “The man who is poor in spirit knows that things mean nothing and that God means everything,” (Barclay).

I do not think that Jesus calls actual material poverty blessed. It is not a blessing to live in slums, and not have enough to eat. The state of homelessness resulting in people sleeping under bridges with no basic human provisions cannot be described as blessed from a scriptural perspective.  The kind of poverty which is blessed, is the poverty of the spirit: when a person realizes his/her utter lack of resources to meet life and finds help and strength in God. Blessed is the person who utterly depends on God!

Independence from God is a curse and sin, and no child of God must embrace it. Our children come of age and leave our homes to start their own lives. While some find this freeing, others can’t imagine it. But, in our spiritual walk, we cannot grow out of our dependence on God.  Spiritual poverty will keep you connected to God, who is the Source of your life. Therefore, stay connected and dependent on Him.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, grant me the humility to realize that I am what I am by your grace. May I live to depend on you, and depend on you to live. Amen.