Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Take a look at how different Bible versions translate this beatitude:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (The Message)
“Humble men are very fortunate!” he told them, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.”(The Living Bible)
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!” (Good News)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NRSV)
“Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” (God’s Word)
“God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!” (Contemporary English Version)
As different versions try to capture what “poor in spirit” means, there seems to be a consensus of thought. Those who are spiritually poor know they are helpless, that they are at the end of their rope, and that only God can do something about their situation. Spiritual poverty is the basic, beginning step of salvation. In essence, this is what it means to call upon a “savior.” Only those who find themselves in situations that they can do nothing about need a savior. The “rich in spirit” don’t need a savior.
Jesus told a story in the gospel of Luke that illustrates the difference between the poor in spirit and the rich in spirit:
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18.9-14)
The question I leave you with today is, “Does salvation wipe away this poverty of spirit or are we meant to continue to be poor in spirit? We will take that up tomorrow.