In my life I have been poor by the standards of the world. Frankly, I did not consider myself blessed. In fact I was ashamed of my poverty, worked to cover it up in any way I could. One Thanksgiving, our church brought us thanksgiving dinner. We were the “poor family”. Was I grateful? No, I was mortified and embarrassed to be singled out as poor.
And yet, now I look back embarrassed at my lack of gratitude and am grateful to have experienced poverty. Why? Because of having been materially poor I understand the correlation to spiritual poverty. I found the following definition of “poor in spirit:”
‘To be poor in spirit is to recognize your utter spiritual bankruptcy before God. It is understanding that you have absolutely nothing of worth to offer God. Being poor in spirit is admitting that, because of your sin, you are completely destitute spiritually and can do nothing to deliver yourself from your dire situation. Jesus is saying that, no matter your status in life, you must recognize your spiritual poverty before you can come to God in faith to receive the salvation He offers.’*
To be blessed because I am poor in spirit, I cannot pretend before God, all my sanctimonious mutterings, my religious fervor, my piety does not fool Him for one nano second. Clearly, Jesus shows us God does not favor the “spiritually elite”. Dressing up in church finery cannot hide the filthy rags beneath or dampen the stench of decay.
In my ungratefulness on that Thanksgiving as a child I failed to recognize the love expressed by Christians who cared. Every mouthful tasted awful, because I resented being poor and I resented others knowing I was poor.
How easy it could be to reject God’s Great Thanksgiving Banquet! What an utter waste that would be. So before God and all I admit, I am impoverished, destitute spiritually. Without accepting the gift of salvation and entering the dining room of God with Thanksgiving, I am nothing. Entering, I join other beggars who have found bread and I am blessed. For the blessing of spiritual poverty I am grateful.