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Poor In Spirit

Self surrender leads us to self-realization. For in losing one’s self

in surrender, it is found … and … given back to us—heightened.

(E. Stanley Jones)

In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus made an unusual statement, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” My family was very poor, so as a child I learned what it meant to live in need and there was nothing blessed about it. There were so many things I wanted to do but it seemed we never had enough money.

My fourth grade teacher announced that she was going to teach us how to play a recorder during music class. Each student was given a form to take home listing the needed supplies and how they could be purchased. Dad read that paper and said, “We don’t have enough money.” For several days I sat in class day dreaming my pain away while the other children learned to play music. I was humiliated. Finally, my teacher got a recorder for me but I was behind and never did catch up. Larry Sloan used to wear nice boots to school and I desperately wanted a pair, but there wasn’t enough money. One year our elementary school produced a Christmas program and each boy had to wear a white shirt and tie. I practiced and learned my parts but didn’t attend the event because dad didn’t have enough money to buy my outfit. At the end of sixth grade we were given a tour of Middle School and were introduced to the music teacher. He talked about his program, encouraging each of us to join band and learn to play an instrument. I decided to sign up for trumpet but again I was denied the opportunity. I learned the meaning of poor early in life—poor meant not having enough.

One day as I was reading the Bible and thinking about Matthew 5:3 the Holy Spirit gave me a unique revelation. Poor had to do with lack. Jesus said that it is a blessed thing to lack spirit or heart. I got it! Being poor in spirit means that we are not capable of coping with life apart from God. This is the one time when it is a blessing to be without and not have the heart to deal with the ins and outs of life.

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