“Blessed are the poor in spirit,Matthew 5:3
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
One of the many really great things about the guys I am meeting with in small groups at WFPC is how smart they are, how sharp, how focused in terms of their commitment to read, to share ideas, to listen, and to learn.
We are on the front end of a new study in and around The Sermon on the Mount. So much of what is foundational to Jesus’ teaching is encapsulated in these three chapters from Matthew. Then, so much of what is essential to The Sermon on the Mount is outlined in The Beatitudes, the first few verses of chapter five.
So we spent some time talking about “blessing”, about “being blessed”, and about “blessings”.
Typically, people think about a blessing as something conferred or projected, as in “bless you my son,” accompanied by hand motions, holy utterances, or sprinkles of water.
But we landed more on the idea that blessings are not so much given to or launched at as activated, released, called out. Jesus was making the point that his audience was already blessed, that the judgment of the religious leaders (suggesting that poverty, hardship, and infirmity – their lowly status – amounts to evidence of being out of favor with God) was peremptory and false.
Jesus was clear – Jesus is clear: “You are already blessed!” Jesus is in a sense calling out from his audience something that is already true. “Know this fact – God loves you!”
Now it is up to us to live into such beautiful truth. Believe it. Accept it. Receive it. The kingdom is already within you!
I believe a lot of us tend to sit on our hands, waiting for something to happen, anxious for God to turn things around, “Squirt me with some holy water why don’t you…”
Jesus asks us to realize that we are deeply loved, and that we are blessed in ways that have nothing to do with the material things that so often distract. The invitation is to step clear of the distractions, own our spiritual poverty, and understand that the transformational, life-giving love of God is already ours!
In love, and because love is the only way forward – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.