In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ begins his discourse by saying, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see the kingdom of heaven.” So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? Does it denote those who are below the poverty level or, those who are pitiful, helpless or weak?
Perhaps it could be better understood, if it read humble of spirit – Happy are those who are not full of themselves, who are humble and least in their own eyes. When we are full of ourselves, it’s hard to see beyond the 2-foot sphere of our own personal space, our own point of view. We are inwardly focused, looking at everything through the narrow scope of me-ness. We can’t see how our actions affect the lives of others, as if the wake we leave behind us in our passing is some mysterious phenomenon that is happening to us rather than being created by us, making us “stiff necked” and “hard-hearted.” When in our conceit, we think we know the answer; there is no room for maturation, no room for toleration, no room for truth. We become egotistic, unresponsive and dismissive, being so convinced of what we “know” that we miss what we need to know. We are in short, arrogant of Spirit.
Yet, if we are humble of Spirit, modest, unpretentious, respectful and obliging, the beauty of life opens up to us. When we realize how little we understand, grasping that our lives affect others in ways we could not begin to imagine, our outlook on life becomes more conscious, more courteous, more reverential. We become receptive of God’s will for us, we see through the eyes of Sprit and become teachable; we see what is important. And this is what is truly important: to keep our eyes fixed on Him who created all things, loving Him with our whole heart, our whole being, seeking His counsel, His way.
It really is an all or nothing proposition. As we are told in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” We serve either ourselves or God.