Sermon on the Mount, painted by Alexander Bida...

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We live in the riches country in the world, the most powerful nation on the face of the universe, but here we are in the 21st century daily awaken to headlines reading; half of our high school seniors are dropping out and not graduating, 28 million people are now receiving food stamps, our soldiers are returning from the war zone and not able to receive proper medical treatment, some are living on the streets, seniors are having to go without their daily doses of medication because of the high cost, 40 million Americans do not have health insurance, and the headlines continue to broadcast more doom and gloom.  Where will it all end, and is there a way for a new beginning?

I personally believe there is, if we are willing to set aside our own selfish pride and seek the one who can change the condition of this world as well as our own personal circumstances.

Our government seems to be paralyzed when it comes to helping the poor among us.  Jesus told us that the poor will always be with us.

When Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount, he spoke these words, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!  For indeed your reward is great in heaven.

We see here that at face value, it appears that Jesus was making a blanket promise of salvation and blessing to anyone below the poverty line.  In this view, the poor are seen as God’s chosen people.  Though they suffer now, they can expect glorious blessing in the world to come.  And the adherents of this view believe that while in this world the people of God should do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of the poor.  In this way the kingdom of God is extended.

However, when we don’t offer ourselves up as servants of Christ or our brother’s keeper, listen to what Jesus issues out as His Woes in the same sermon.  He says, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”

Jesus wanted us to know, that we have the opportunity to change the conditions and circumstance in which we find ourselves living in.  If we don’t step up to the plate now there will be a price to pay latter, this is His warnings in the Woes.

Jesus wants us all to experience the hope and joy that he freely offers to those of us who recognize our spiritual poverty before God.  When a person rejects worldly value and embraces the godly teachings of Jesus, then that individual begins to experience the reign of Christ in his or her life.  This is how we enjoy the kingdom of God now in this fallen world.  One day we will experience the joys of this kingdom in a fuller, more glorious way.

To summarize, anyone, rich or poor (and in a spiritual sense we all are poor), can taste the deep joy of God’s rule and blessing of His kingdom.  But doing so requires that we renounce the ways of the world and humbly submit our ways to God.  This kind of poverty, an emptying of ourselves of our self-centered desires, is what God expects from everyone.

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