Blessed are the Poor

Budget“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3. (emphasis mine)

I started reading the Beatitudes today and the first one jumped out at me, probably because I’ve been struggling with finances the last few months. Each month I look at what we need, what needs paid, what we have, and ask what can we do without or what can be pushed off until the next month.

Ever been there? Pretty soon, after a couple months of living like this, you start to feel stretched out and stressed. I pinch every penny until it screams (and I start screaming along with it). We are living as frugally as we can, but I start to secretly wish for more. I wish for twenty bucks to take the kids swimming or out for ice cream. I wish I didn’t have to scrutinize every price tag and ask if the need is so great that we simply can’t live without it. I look longingly at what other people have and ask God why I can’t have that too.

You know the one thing I haven’t been doing? Talking to God about it. Instead, I’ve been treading financial waters, trying to stay afloat, keep our family going, and getting angry at everyone around me.

I have probably read the Beatitudes a thousand times, and know God blesses the poor, but today it hit me. There is nothing in that verse that says God will raise us above our need. Instead, it is our need that points us back to Him. We come to the end of ourselves (sometimes doing everything in our own power first, like I am apt to do), just to find He’s been there all along, waiting.

God has never let my family starve. He has always made sure we had a roof over our head (even when it looked like we would lose everything). He has provided for our needs. So why am I worrying? Perhaps it is because I have become discontent. Dan and I work hard, and in America there is this assumption that if you work hard, you will reap. But that is not reality. Reality is Dan is in ministry, not for the paycheck, but for the people. And I don’t write for a paycheck but for the joy of storytelling.

Being poor is not a virtue most people pursue. But it is one God honors. It is easier to realize our need for God when we are poor. We have nothing else. No distractions.

So instead of looking at what I don’t have, today I will turn my gaze on God instead and be thankful for what I do have.

 

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5 thoughts on “Blessed are the Poor”

  1. I can certainly relate o this! We’ve gone from ‘doing pretty well’ to scraping by, over a short period of time.

    I’m not sure that being poor is a virtue, though. We stayed focused, even with money – but having less has meant making harder choices, while retaining the focus on our core service (for us, maintaining a sanctuary for abandoned pets). The harder choices affect us – the animals eat, and get medical attention, first.

    There is certainly a need for trust in God, and He isn’t letting us down. We’re making it, and will continue to make it.

    If my writing hits it big, though, this experience has changed what our priorities will be. We’ve seen the edge, and the need to extend a hand to others in difficulty. Where, in an upcoming time of plenty, we might have looked to a big house and a nice car or two, we see the zero-sum nature of charity. Our big house would mean fewer resources available to commit to God’s work, and an old truck will carry as much dog food as a new SUV.

    So I thank God for this experience, and this sharpening of focus.

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Yes, been there, lived that. We have lived well, and poor, and everything in between. It has a way of changing our priorities. I know I have become a more generous giver and have sympathy for the poor.

  2. Amen! Every time I start to tread water financially, a wave sweeps over me and I go down again. It keeps me turning to God continually and praising Him for what I have. I’m in the top 1% of the world’s wealth.

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