Lent 2019 – The Meaning of Discipleship

Matthew 5:3, “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” (CEB)

Happy in hopelessness?  Another bible version says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit?” (NIV)

I found a good reference article that explains this better than I could hope to and wanted to share it with you.  It is from Billy Graham, The question was posed, “What does it mean to be poor in spirit, as Jesus said we ought to be?

Billy Graham’s response:

“I don’t understand this, because it seems to me that we ought to strive to be rich in spirit, not poor. Or am I missing the point?  The answer, “Your confusion is understandable; after all, the Bible does warn us against being empty and impoverished in our souls, and urges us to seek spiritual riches instead. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

But Jesus also said that there is another kind of spiritual poverty—one we should seek. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.

In other words, when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Pride can take all kinds of forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. Often the richer we are in things, the poorer we are in our hearts. Have you faced your own need of Christ? Do you realize that you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness? Don’t let pride or anything else get in the way, but turn to Christ in humility and faith—and He will bless you and save you.”

It can be so easy to fall pry and to become overwhelmed by the world’s hopelessness, along with all the crimes, senseless deaths, cruelness and hatred. It is precisely within these things we are called to slow down, look around at our surroundings and find community in midst of hopelessness. Perhaps we can begin to see things that others are missing such as hopeful imagination emerging from within others as well as ourselves, we will begin to feel the seedlings of our faith taking root while nurturing the seedlings of others as we see them begin to grow. Then, before long we will recognize we are not alone and our community is growing. We will say, Immanuel (Hebrew: עִמָּנוּאֵל meaning, “God with us as we greet one another.

May your Lenten journey open your heart, mind and soul to the wonders of God’s calling in your life as you discover the meaning of discipleship for you.

Thanks you all for traveling with me on this Lenten journey. ~šālôm

Breath Prayer: God of hope, let the kingdom…be down in me!