Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Reading: Mark 10: 17-31
There is a longing in all of us for a safe place, somewhere where we are cherished, where our needs are met. For many it is a place where we feel in control, where possessions and money are our security. The more we have the more 'independent' we become. We think we can make it on our own - without God.
While this beatitude does not specifically refer to those who are economically poor or destitute (a sizable proportion of the world's population), it is true that those who are literally impoverished often don't have any refuge but God. All barriers are down. They know that he alone is their security. There isn't anything or anyone else. To be stripped of even some of the things that have been the shelter from life's storms for us is a frightening place to be. It can leave us feeling naked and vulnerable. If, however, we have taken a little time to cultivate a space within where Jesus is welcome, where the riches of friendship with him are nurtured, then some of the menacing shadows disappear.
Once a rich man came to Jesus, really wanting to follow him, but he was already "full". Jesus said to him, "Sell all you have". In other words, "i love you. Do you love me enough to allow me space, to nurture a relationship that will be life giving, one that will be your ultimate security?" the man couldn't respond to what he was being offered. He was possessed by his possessions!
With each beatitude, there comes a promise. For those who recognise their need of God, the promise here is that the kingdom of heaven is theirs - already - and not at some vague point after death. We can in this present moment begin to experience what it is to be a citizen of the Kingdom in the here and now as we discover our true place of safety in God.
Jesus once told a story about a priceless pearl of love of which a man sold everything. is there within me an urge to do that, perhaps not literally but in terms of my priorities? In finding the treasure I begin to discover that I, too, am special, unique, a priceless pearl to Jesus. The bottom line is God loves me just as I am. And love is cause for celebration and the Kingdom is celebration. It's a place where I know that in my poverty, he is my wealth; in my emptiness, he is my fullness; owing nothing, I am possessed of all things needful.
Suggestions for Sharing:
- Where is my safe place? Where would I like it to be?
- Is there somebody in your family, your church, your community who needs to hear from you that they are a priceless pearl?