Blessing: Ends and Means
Today’s reading: Matthew 2:1-5:20
My selection: Matthew 5:2-5
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
My reflections: In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches that blessing comes to those who have the kingdom of heaven, are comforted, inherit the earth, are satisfied, receive mercy, see God, are called His sons, and are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. These are, in large measure, the things that many, if not all, humans desire. What Jesus says that is new and different is how these things are obtained.
The kingdom of heaven is not for those who are proud, arrogant, and have enormous self-esteem. It is for those who are “poor in spirit”, who recognize their sin, need, and unworthiness. Comfort is not for those who have hardened themselves against pain but for those who “mourn”. The earth will be inherited not by the powerful who use every means to cheat and steal, but by the “meek” who faithfully do what is right. Satisfaction will not come to those who seek every imaginable pleasure, but by those who seek righteousness. And so on, the Lord goes.
My challenge: Our problem is not so much that we desire the wrong things, but that we pursue them in the wrong ways. Why all the restlessness in us? Begin by examining the things you long for. Are these what Jesus holds up as the most important? How are you seeking them? Seek them by the means He has indicated. You may even find yourself longing for more persecution.
Tomorrow’s reading: Matthew 5:21-7:23