I love the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew. Jesus is just getting warmed up in Matthew 5 when he says:
““God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – Matthew 5:3 NLT
Another translation says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and I used to read that verse and think that He was trying to cheer up the Debbie Downers of the world. You know the person who walks around with their shoulders drooping, barely picking up their feet as they shuffle through life – just pitiful.
Look – I realize simply because I live in the United States, I’m already considered to be richer than most people in the world. But let me tell you I am a poor man!
Everyday of my life, I wake up with the reality that I am a hopeless, desperate and pitiful excuse for a human being WITHOUT Jesus in my life. Without Him – I’m done. Down for the count. Finito. That’s all he wrote fellas.
Now I know plenty of folks who pride themselves on what they have, where they live, what they drive, how much they make. Social media is full of Better Than Reality pictures of life. Some people simply want the world to see the mirage they’ve created rather than their reality. That’s okay for them I suppose. If it makes them feel better …… I’ve tried it, and it didn’t feel right. Like a pair of shoes that were too big. Clumsy.
It was disingenuous.
However, when I stopped trying to convince the world that I was so much “richer” than I really was, something liberating happened in my life. I guess I discovered the very thing that Jesus promised – the Kingdom of Heaven.
Most days, I wake up feeling like I’m in over my head. Never enough hours to do all that needs to be done. I’m not smart enough to do 90% of what is expected of me as a small business owner, much less a pastor. I never ever saw the Parenting for Dummies Handbook and thank the Lord my wife loves me for better or worse, cause sometimes she gets a raw deal being married to me.
But I’ve discovered that the more honest with myself about the true state of my soul. When I recognize the poor man that I am, and how much I need Jesus in my life on a daily basis to help me live this life, to simply put one foot in front of the other, I also realize just how close He really is to me.
He makes up for where I’m lacking. In every area of my life. One friend tells me often, “Shannon, I’ve never seen God cover someone’s butt like He cover’s yours!” Its true.
Without Him, I am a poor man.
With Him, I have everything I need, I have the Kingdom of Heaven, and I don’t really need anything else.