Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Poor in Spirit

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

I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ came on and started talking about this book he had been reading. (I was listening to Air1 around 5:15 if anyone heard it and knows the name of the book please post it, I'm really interested in reading it.) He said that in this book this guy proposed this idea about the first Be Attitude in Matthew 5. DJ man said that he didn't claim to know for sure if this Author new what he was talking about but he liked this idea. We've all probably heard many sermons given on the Be Attitudes and I don't claim to know everything about them or anything about them for that matter. But this interesting thought Book Author gave is so different from anything I've ever heard and like DJ, I don't claim to know if it's true necessarily about the Be Attitudes but it strikes me in a way that is good.

This idea is a bit contrary to what a few commentators have said about those who are "poor in spirit." I've listed them here first so you could refresh your memory on what's being taught in most "Christian" churches.

Matthew Henry says the poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them.

John Darby says the characters pronounced blessed may be briefly noted. They suppose evil in the world, and amongst God's people. The first is not seeking great things for self, but accepting a despised place in a scene contrary to God.

John Wesley says those who are unfeignedly penitent, they who are truly convinced of sin; who see and feel the state they are in by nature, being deeply sensible of their sinfulness, guiltiness, helplessness.

Ok. Now let me tell you what DJ guy said. This new idea is this. If we take the words "blessed are the poor in spirit" a little more literally then we could say, "blessed are the spiritually poor." DJ said (this is not word for word)  "If you're like me this is good news because I am not exactly a spiritual person. There are those out there who are just oceans of spirituality. It comes easy to them. They have a natural tendency to look heavenward all the time. For some reason I'm not like that. I often get stuck in the mud about spiritual things and tend to feel left out. I don't always 'get' things like other spiritual people do. I have a much dryer nature. This idea blesses me so because this means I have a place at His table too."

Wow. Do you know someone or have you judged someone who seems a bit spiritually dry? A bit spiritually bankrupt? Are you that person? I have a hard time understanding because I have a tendency to over-spiritualize everything and I don't think that's a problem until I start judging those who aren't like that. After all you don't see a Be Attitude that says "blessed are the overly spiritual because they are better then everyone else." I guess in a way it does kind of line up with what these commentators have said because the DJ was definitely humble in his thinking that spiritual people were somehow better off then him.

I am really humbled by this and if you have any thoughts on the matter I'd love to hear it.