Depending on God; April 30, 2018

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Verses 3~10, commonly called The Beatitudes, are a listing of God’s provision for His children. None of the things listed really can be provided by man. However, the fundamental key to receiving all of God’s bounty is given right here. If we don’t recognize our poverty, our lack, we won’t turn to God for Him to meet our need and fill our emptiness. It can be a major problem when God’s children become materially wealthy, because that often numbs them to their dependence on God. That pattern was mentioned by Moses (Deuteronomy 8:10-18) and has been true ever since. People who focus on business success often talk about being “hungry,” but that is better expressed in verse 6 here, which speaks of hunger and thirst for righteousness. Too often we know we have lack, but we don’t really know what we lack and so seek the wrong things. There are several Christian songs that speak of how Jesus is the only source of true satisfaction. Looking at wealthy people should teach us that material things never really satisfy. One of the wealthiest men in America a century ago was asked, “How much is enough?” His answer was ultimately quite pathetic: “A little more.” It is never wrong to want more of God, but always seeking more of anything else only leads to frustration and disillusionment. Jesus spoke beautifully to our true needs right here.

This of course applies to me. I’m not immune to wanting material stuff! Just yesterday my new tablet computer arrived. I’ve already run into some frustrations with it, simply because it’s from China and the instructions leave a LOT to be desired. I realize that it’s going to be a very useful tool, with dual booting into either Windows 10 or Android and a lot of other technically adroit features, but past experience tells me that a time will come when it will seem terribly outdated and unsatisfying. Jesus is never like that! As a pastor I am constantly cautioning other people about their priorities, but I’ve got to listen to my own sermons. If I place ANYTHING ahead of Jesus, I’m in trouble. Walking with the Lord is paradoxical in a number of ways. On the one hand I’m totally satisfied with Jesus, but on the other hand I always want more of Him! That’s actually a very blessed state of mind and heart. I earnestly desire it for all in my care. I am to tell them it’s possible, never speaking down to them but encouraging them, and I am to be open about my own journey in that direction. I must not make people think I think I’ve arrived. The perception is almost as important as the reality there, for a pastor. I must not think I’m perfect, any more than Paul did, (Philippians 3:12-14) and I must also not project a holier-than-thou attitude at all. My job is not to talk down to people but to walk alongside them, bringing them with me into all that God has for us.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for the service yesterday and what followed. You are indeed working in ways we would not have anticipated. Thank You for the healing Cathy has already experienced from her fall yesterday afternoon, and that we could get the confirmation she doesn’t have any breaks. There’s a lot going on before she leaves for the US on Thursday, but as You’ve already reminded me this morning, You’ve got it all in control. Help us rest, relax, and rejoice in You indeed, today and each day, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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