Tuesday, January 13, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 2)

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
— Matthew 5:3 (NLT)
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) are Jesus’ high-impact proverbs that get his Sermon rolling at full speed right from the start. How the original hearers must have been both encouraged and confused at the same time! Much as we might be.
These divine maxims are an encouragement to that part of us that is honestly most vulnerable, like “God blesses the weak, by gifting them strength.”
This first aphorism is the boost the poor of spirit need.
The earth, counter to what we human beings think, is not the be-all and end-all.
The Kingdom of Heaven is everything. Yet, we will sell our deposit on eternal life for a meal of lentil soup. We insist on being worldly rich. Grumbles and complaints are ours for the pettiness of a little missing out.
We would rather lose our birthright than suffer the humble indignity of missing a little of the tasty, though insignificant, treats of life. We make much of what isn’t important – that’s our human nature.
We know, in theory at least, we can do much better.
The key to attaching our heart to the Kingdom of Heaven is putting Jesus’ Kingdom and his righteousness first (Matthew 6:33).
To do this we necessarily need to be poor of ourselves (poor of spirit), knowing our need of him. This sounds like a deficient state of being, but it is a golden paradox.
Gospel life is full of golden paradoxes – opposites of what make sense, make best sense.
Being needy of God is being needy of nothing else.
Being needy of God is putting all priorities in their correct order: God coming first.
Being needy of God, we learn to ply to life, courage, humility, wisdom, learning, understanding, and the seeking for insight – all these underpinned prayerfully under the banner of Truth.
As we are needy of God and of nothing worldly, the Lord opens up our experience of life – the abundant life that seemed too elusive suddenly comes into view.
Realising our need of Jesus, no matter how counter that is in the estimations of the world, we learn to surrender in courage, to grow in vulnerability, to trust and to be trustworthy.
Needing God, we find we have the capacity of everything else we would otherwise need given to us.
Needing God is the meeting of all our needs.
Needing God is the process; the outcome is independence from the world and interdependence with life.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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