As I kick off this 8 days of looking at the beatitudes, I should warn you all that I am not a bible scholar. I didn’t attend seminary and am not a Pastor. I am just giving my common, everyday, finite mind application of what these key verses say to me the next 8 days. It is my hope that those that read along will join with me Wed-Friday this week and Monday – Friday next week to apply one per day. If you are joining in, feel free to comment on your reflections as well.

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

About 8 years ago, several families from our church decided to rent a house in Virginia Beach for a weeks vacation. One day while we were on the beach, a friend named John Ballenger asked me what I thought about leading a small group. The look on my face probably said it all. “Shock and Awe” comes to mind now that I think of it. I had no training. I had no idea how to lead a small group. As I said, I’m not a Pastor, Bible Scholar and had actually never read the bible cover to cover (not that it is a requirement of leading a small group). I know I was thinking “you’ve got the wrong guy“.

From the commentaries I read, being poor in spirit is admitting our complete helplessness. It is, as John Piper called it, “the paralysis of low self esteem”. Examples of poor in spirit from the bible would include David, Moses, Abraham and Jacob. Most of them told God “you’ve got the wrong guy“. God didn’t fix their low-self esteem, he advanced his kingdom through it. He didn’t build up them up, he took the area that they felt they were “poor” and recognized it was exactly what he (and they) needed for great things.

Moses didn’t say “it’s about time. I’m the best speaker and leader you’ve got and I’m counting sheep man”. He said “you’ve got the wrong guy”. Had he not been “poor in spirit”, he would not have been just the man for the job. His emptiness, low self esteem and reliance on God was the picture of being poor in spirit.

I mentioned that encounter on the beach because what John Ballenger saw in me I didn’t see in myself. Reluctantly, I accepted the opportunity. While I have led small groups, I don’t think I will ever be the model small group leader, but I know it drove me into the word. I sent me searching, reading, studying, listening and called me to a deeper faith. It created a thirst that, to this day is still unquenchable. If that one area of my life could create all of those things, imagine if I really got serious about the many areas that I am poor in spirit.

How about you? What is the area that you feel completely inadequate when it comes to your faith? What is the place that you hope no one asks you about? Speaking? Leading? Praying? Serving? Your Past? It might just be the area that you are poor in spirit. It might also be the place where God is about to do something amazing.

For further examples, watch this video from Kirk Franklin.

Tomorrow: Those who mourn