This is a common response when some “American” returns from serving in an impoverish place: “They didn’t have hardly anything but they were content – even joyful and they were grateful to God.” This amazes us.
I think it amazes because we first wonder how they live without the conveniences that are minimal and expected in our culture – like toilets with running water. It’s a challenge to go to France for heaven’s sake, where the toilet is in a separate place from the sink to wash your hands – but a hole in the ground behind a shower curtain in the local church building? I call this culture shock. It’s normal and if you stay someplace long enough you’ll get over it.
So, let’s disregard culture shock.
The real amazement to us relates to possessions = joy. Of course we would never admit in our own lives that this equation is right. In fact, we work hard to rail against the notion. But, unfortunately, it is secretly embedded in our DNA. We divide into the “have stuff” people and the “don’t have stuff” people. The “have stuffs” should be happy. Conversely, the “don’t have stuffs” should be sad. It’s kind of revealing and we should struggle to uncover why we have drawn such a conclusion. It’s a fair trade then. The wealthy American has given aid and returned with the gift of insight.
So what does this have to do with being POOR IN SPIRIT?
It just got me thinking about material things and how POOR people don’t have them. Which led me to ponder how being POOR IN SPIRIT might mean I have no possessions to give to God.
Which led to these thoughts:
- What if I woke up every day and acknowledged to myself and to God that I was lacking in everything essential?
- What if these empty hands were held up and had to wait for Him to fill them?
- What if I really practiced acting as poor as I actually am?
Jesus said this posture was “blessed”. That’s the word for happy….maybe even joy. I think I’d be amazed.