Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Several years ago, I was visiting with a parishioner and good friend, who told me that one of his grown children had asked him to say a prayer over her; asking God for His blessing in her life. Somewhat like a formal benediction as one might receive while being ordained as an elder or deacon. My friend shared that he did not feel worthy to do something like that for his daughter.

Knowing the sincerity of his faith, I encouraged him to do it explaining that his feelings of unworthiness indicated, at least to me, that he was indeed worthy. Thinking back on this, it makes me think of one of the beatitudes in Mathew 5:3, that “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The founder of the Lutheran church, Martin Luther, wrote about the poor in spirit, “the poor in spirit are not the bodily poor, but the spiritually poor. They are the broken hearted ones who suffer under the agony of their conscience and from the insecurities that emerge from their feelings of inadequacy. The poor in spirit seek and desire help and consolation from God. They run to nothing else but God. They know that their is no help outside of his mercy.”

Luther’s thoughts are the best that I know of what Jesus was really talking about when He let us know that the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Joseph C. Hutchison

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