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Apr 28, 2019

Life in the Kingdom: Poor in Spirit

Life in the Kingdom: Poor in Spirit

Passage: Luke 18:9-14

Speaker: Jon McHenry

Series: Life in the Kingdom

Keywords: beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What does kingdom life look like? What does it mean to be blessed when we are surrounded by so many blessings?


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
-Matthew 5:3 


The beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” has always been a tough nut for me to crack. What does poor in spirit even mean? Of course, I asked Google. But as is the case with most big questions, there are a multitude of opinions.  Some say it just means poor. Luke puts it just that way in chapter 6, verse 20. Others, like Billy Graham, equate it with humility. Regardless, poor is poor. Whether economic or spiritual, being poor puts us in a state of vulnerability. And it is in that state that Jesus promises the kingdom of heaven. 

I don’t do poor or vulnerable well. I like to have it all figured out. Job security, money in the bank, ample insurance, these are just some of the many ways I try and insulate myself from being made humble. I sometimes employ a similar array of tactics to guard my spirit. I try to systematically build a Jenga tower of belief so that there is little room for doubt or uncertainty. But I have found that precise thinking does not lead to abundant faith. Eventually my carefully crafted tower is brought crashing down by its own weight. 

But when I expose my own spiritual bankruptcy, I find it pulls me closer to God and opens a door for relationship with those around me. Far from condemning me, God picks me up and my fellow followers reassure me that I am not alone. That’s one the confounding things about Christianity. Jesus did not go around to the religious leaders and give out attaboys. He found the most vulnerable, the poorest, and gave them the keys to the kingdom. 


Holy God, each of us is made in Your perfect image. And yet, for some reason, we find it necessary to adorn ourselves with the trinkets of our culture. Teach us to shed what we don’t need and to value the things that bring us closer to You and each other. Let the love of Christ transform us so that we see Your kingdom around us.

Written by Ben Roberts. Ben is Chair of the Men's Ministry and leads one of the Men's Ministry groups. He lives in Ashburn with his wife Jennifer and their son Ethan.