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Lost Crusader #155 Blessed Are the Poor

There seems to be an active idea within the church today, the idea that being poor is synonymous with being just and that the poor exist only because they are oppressed. It’s not surprising that it should be that way given the Church’s desire to be indistinguishable from society. Modern media and politics have declared the blessedness of poverty and the evil oppressive bent of “the rich” who are to be taxed and pulled down into equity. Contrary to what you hear from pulpits and in Sunday School, there is no such idea in scripture; the above text is only one proof.

First, let me point out that it is not the poor who the Sermon on the Mount described as blessed. It is the poor in spirit. That is, the humble, those who do not think too highly of themselves (this may or may not be easier to do based on possessions). The poor in spirit are those of a broken and contrite heart, not a depleted wallet.

Consider for a moment those to whom Jesus said the gospel was addressed. The whole have no need for a physician. If poverty makes one just, then why should there be a need to preach to them? The difference between the rich and poor in the gospel accounts lay in the respective numbers who responded in a positive manner to the gospel.

Be aware that distinction is not exclusive. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were both rich and politically connected, yet heard and acted on the gospel message.

In truth, poverty and wealth each have their spiritual pitfalls and opportunity for blessing. Some of these pitfalls come from within, from our attitudes. Other attacks come from outside, from society’s judgment of us (Woe unto the minister who prospers!). Fortunately, it’s not what you have or lack that determines blessedness, but who you have.

Jesus taught an infinite value of personal worth without regard to money, talent, or appearance. This brings me to an important point our society has forgotten. You do not lift up the poor by tearing down the rich. Jesus said, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the God of very rich men. However, their true riches were not in material possessions. It was in their possession of a relationship with God. A relationship which, by the way, they didn’t fail to share, even with servants.

Why does God make some rich and others poor? You might as well ask why some are black and some are white, or why some are male and some are female. When I was an aircraft mechanic, the answer to such questions was simple—designer’s choice.

Rich or poor, God made you as you are for purposes only God knows. The divine expectation is that we be grateful and content with His design and follow His plan as it is revealed to us. Be prepared to understand that plan will include lifting up others as the means to being blessed.


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