At first glance, Jesus's reference to "the poor in spirit" seems to refer to those who have little or no money—people of poverty with zero financial security. Wrong. You'll note He speaks of being "poor in spirit."
At first glance, Jesus's reference to "the poor in spirit" seems to refer to those who have little or no money—people of poverty with zero financial security.
You'll note He speaks of being "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3, emphasis added). This is an attitude of absolute, unvarnished humility. What an excellent way to describe the portrait of God's servant! It is the portrait of one who sees himself or herself as spiritually bankrupt, deserving of nothing . . . who turns to almighty God in total trust.
This spirit of humility is very rare in our day of strong-willed, proud-peacock attitudes. The clinched fist has replaced the bowed head. The big mouth and the surly stare now dominate the scene once occupied by the quiet godliness of the "poor in spirit." How self-righteous we have become! How confident in and of ourselves! And with that attitude, how desperately unhappy we are!
A special promise follows the trait of spiritual helplessness: "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (5:3), says Jesus. The vital condition of receiving a part in the kingdom of heaven is that we acknowledge our spiritual poverty. The person with a servant's heart—not unlike a child trusting completely in his or her parent's provision—is promised a place in Christ's kingdom.
The opposite attitude is clearly revealed in the Laodicean congregation, where Christ rebuked them with severe words. They were so proud, and they were blind to their own selfishness (read Revelation 3:15–17). Chances are good that there wasn't a servant in the whole lot at Laodicea.
First and foremost in the life of an authentic servant of God is a deep, abiding dependency on the living Lord.
On the basis of that attitude, the kingdom of heaven is promised.