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Ed Jordan: When Is It Good to Be Poor?

Posted: 8/24/18 at 1:00pm. Column by Ed Jordan.

Is the title of this column a lark?

Is it ever good to be poor by the typical definition—to be totally “broke” financially? There might be a rare time when that would be beneficial, but we certainly don’t want to live that way by choice.

Is this verse talking about finances, or is it talking about some other kind of emptiness?

Actually the verse clarifies its own true meaning. Matthew 5:3 (ESV) states: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

It is so interesting that the starting point for entering and living in the Kingdom of God is to be “poor in spirit,” meaning to have humility and awareness that we desperately need God in our lives.

Since the “blessed life” is a life lived with God in the Kingdom of God, the starting point is for a person to recognize their absolute need for God. It sounds rather simplistic, but we often overlook the obvious or simple things.

If a person does not know they are thirsty, they can easily become dehydrated and be unaware of it until it becomes life-threatening. Thirst is a blessing, if we heed the symptoms and drink water to rehydrate our bodies.

Sometimes people misinterpret thirst as hunger and will eat in an attempt to satisfy the empty feeling. It makes us feel better to eat, but we are still thirsty and dehydrated. The body needs water. It is a simple thing to understand, but we frequently are still under-hydrated.

People need to realize that their lives need God—before they will seek God and ask God to fill them up with living water (John 7:37-39). If we don’t realize that humans need God to fill the emptiness in our lives, then we probably won’t seek God to meet that need.

Few of us go to a dentist just for enjoyment; we go to the dentist when we are aware of something that is wrong in our teeth or gums. When it hurts to eat, then we decide to go to a dentist to take care of the source of the pain.

We are not unlike that in our relationship with God. Many people only seek God after they have tried everything else, and none of it has worked to fix the problem.

It is when our stomach is empty that we seek out food. It is when our pocket and bank account are empty that we seek a new job.

It is when our spirit is empty that we seek out God. It is when we realize that we are in need that God’s offer of meeting the need is acceptable to us.

This may seem strange, but it happens in our marriages all the time. We take our mates for granted. We rarely focus upon their worth until they are out of town, or gone, or divorcing us.

Blessed people are people who live each day recognizing how needy they are for God. People full of pride ridicule such a viewpoint; they think it depicts weakness. But in recognizing how much we need God, we demonstrate maturity and wisdom.

Each of us is one heartbeat away from death. Do you control your heartbeat? No. If an artery ruptures, a person bleeds out. We need God. God keeps our physical bodies working, our lungs breathing, our heart pumping, and our kidneys functioning. God keeps our minds focused on the right things and instills good values into us.

We need God’s advice on decisions we make which can change the course of our lives. We need God’s forgiveness to have our guilt removed. We need God’s power living within us to say “no” to temptations, to say “yes” to doing God’s will, to give us the power to love others, and to give us the power to live the way God tells us to live.

We can’t enter the Kingdom of God without God, nor can we live as citizens of God’s kingdom, without God’s power. But happy and blessed are those who know that they need God; theirs is the Kingdom of God. They experience God every day!

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.