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This week we’re exploring the meaning of the phrase “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” We learned that the word poor indicates someone who can only beg for what they need. But what does the word spirit mean?
The word in the original language can mean wind, breath, God’s spirit, or a person’s inner being. In fact, that last meaning is clear from Mark 2:8-9, which says, “Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things?’”(NIV)
So, let’s put the meaning of poor together with the meaning of spirit. The Beatitude is referring to people who approach God with the attitude of a beggar.
I know, that probably isn’t appealing to you. I know it isn’t to me. But think about it! We can’t approach God with spiritual wealth, looking to direct him as our servant. Nor can we approach him like a business person looking to make a deal. We can’t even approach God like a day laborer seeking to earn just a bit from him. No! We are beggars. We have no ability to earn anything from God and we must rely on his mercy to meet our needs, whether spiritual or physical.
We could paraphrase the Beatitude this way: blessed are those who approach God as a beggar, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.