Posted on June 6, 2015
Posted on June 6, 2015
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 NIV
Monday morning I sat down in my chair. She greets me on weekday mornings, me with coffee in hand, heart open, book, pen, highlighter. This chair has been my refuge since 2009 when I bought her on Craigslist and dubbed her my “thinking chair.” I only sit there on weekday mornings, usually around 6:15 a.m. This may sound strange to you, but this chair has been my sanctuary. Despite where I have lived (which is five homes since I bought it), she has been my place. My sacred space. She beckons me to sit, be still, be broken, be alive. (And, I might add, she doesn’t fit well anywhere in our new home, so she’s sadly sitting in the corner.)
This particular morning, I opened my bible app to Psalm 120 as I continued my reading through the Psalms. But as in recent mornings, I couldn’t connect. I should always be able to connect to God’s Word, right? I just needed something the Psalms weren’t giving me. I needed the words of my Savior. I needed my heart to hear his words. I turned to Matthew 5 and the famous Sermon on the Mount.
God I need you. I need you. Help me.
It’s been a rough year. Change. Challenges. Stress. The demands of my job seem overwhelming on most days. I am faced with circumstances and people that are new to me. I have to lead differently. I have to un-learn what’s always worked for me and re-learn new ways of leading. My confidence is shaken, my years of experience fail me.
So I read, and I can’t get past the first of what we call The Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” My first thought,
Wow, Lord. Am I ever poor in spirit!
My spirit. The emotional part of me. The piece of me that begs to know and be known by The Creator. The “me” that is made up not of flesh and bone but of thoughts and feelings and angst. That part of me is really in want – in need. Empty. Drained. Tapped. Those are words that come to mind.
Have you been there? Do you know what I mean when I say that?
My mind goes back to a sermon on The Beatitudes that Jim Bradford spoke when he was the pastor of Newport Mesa Christian Center. He called them the “upside down” something or other. And I wonder to myself,
How can I be blessed when I’m at the end of my rope? How can it be that I would “inherit the kingdom of heaven” by being poor in spirit?
The words of David come to mind: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) David. “A man after God’s heart” he was called. He was poor in spirit when he wrote this Psalm. He, like me, was asking for God to renew the spirit within him to joy and rightness. He, like me, had leadership challenges and spiritual challenges and sin and regret and had to put on his big boy panties and go to work anyway!
And then it comes to me. I am blessed, not because I have possessions or position. I am blessed because I see my need for Him. I recognize that to go out each day in my own strength and purpose is meaningless. I am blessed when I acknowledge that each day I do what I do not just for a paycheck, but because God has given me meaningful work to do. He has given me people to lead. He has given me a family to love. He has given me challenges and obstacles to overcome so that I continually see my need for his guidance.
I am blessed, because I have screwed up and said stupid things and have hurt others and walked away knowing that I did. I recognize my mistakes, my sin. I learn, I grow, I fail again and again and grow some more. It’s painful. But it’s how it goes when you’re learning to live in the Kingdom of Heaven right here on earth.
Blessed are the drained, tapped, worn out and stressed out. Blessed are you, because you see your need for something greater than yourself, a value way beyond anything you can contrive on your own. You, tired friend, you are blessed, and you have the privilege of looking to the only Source that can bring you through. Celebrate that with me today, will you?
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:3 MSG)
This is the first installment in my series called ‘Blessed.’ I hope you’ll join me as I look to discover how the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5 help bring hope and rightness to my days.