Friday, April 26, 2013

 We all have gifts and callings and when we read the Bible we interpret it through the filter of those gifts and callings. The following is how I interpret the Sermon on the Mount.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I think it’s clear that it refers to those of a repentant and contrite heart, but a wider application applies to those that are downtrodden in spirit, the poor inner city single mom who has little hope that her children will break out of the cycle of poverty; the child who has suffered abuse and has lost his way and lives in dejection and despair or acts out in anger and rage; the desperately poor in developing countries that live with hunger, lack of medical help and despair; the drug addicted person who lives in bondage and confusion without hope. The spirit of dejection, which sees no end in sight, all “that are weary and heavy laden,” all that live in utter hopelessness and are overcome with a “poor spirit.”

Is. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to those who are bound.” 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I think this also applies to those who are involved in ministries working with the marginalized people of the world like Job who -------
 …delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper.
The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me,
And I made the widow’s hear sing for joy.
I put on righteousness and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban,
I was eyes to the blind
And feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy,
And I took up the strangers cause.
And I broke the jaws of the wicked,
And snatched the prey from his teeth.

When we are working with Christ in these issues there will be many set-backs, defeats and mourning, but we will be comforted in our labor as illustrated in Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”

 “Blessed are the meek, gentle, humble, for they shall inherit the earth.”

In serving mankind with this spirit, we will be repaid a hundred fold, in this life and the life to come. We shall inherit the most valuable treasures on earth, love.

“Blessed for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

In a world where justice and right relationships are ruptured, to be involved in restoration ministries will not happen unless we earnestly desire solutions.
These relationships have often years of damage and there are no easy fixes.
It will require an earnest and persistent determination and if we do not sense Christ’s concern and love we will not have the hunger and thirst needed to endure.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

When working with the “poor in spirit” we will uncover many dark and insidious evils. If we lack mercy we will recoil in judgment and lose our ability to help find change. We must have the mind of Christ when confronted with shocking and blatant sins; with a merciful heart we can put aside judgment and seek restoration, snatching some as it were, from the very flames.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The servant who works with the poor in spirit must have no agenda but Gods.
We must be a faithful friend, an honest confidant, and our motives must be pure,  never looking for gain, profit or recognition.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

When we are involved in personal relationships that have been fractured and forsaken, we will need the sensitivity and humility to help establish peace where past hurts and abuses have lead to rejections, anger, revenge and separations on many levels: be it in restoring man to God; mother to child or spouse to spouse.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

When involved in the above work, there will be times when you will be turned on, attacked or misunderstood. Many issues run so deep they can be hard to look at by the offended, and you may become the scapegoat. When involved in matters of justice for the oppressed, those who gain from the oppression may see you as the enemy. Versus 11 and 12 in Matthew 5 speak to this, but take heart and rejoice, for your reward in heaven is great!

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