Jesus made a rather startling and “seemingly” rash statement in His celebrated “Sermon on the Mount.” Luke (6:20), the journalist, informs us that Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” And “poor” means “poor.” This word is distinguished in the New Testament from the word meaning to earn your daily ‘bread’ by labor. This last (2 Corinthians 9:9) lives from paycheck to paycheck. He is not impoverished as our word “poor” indicates. Our word, Jesus used, means to beg for it, or in our case, to pray for it, to trust God for it: “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 11).
Blessed are those who trust God for their daily sustenance!
I am reading Schweizer’s work, “Red-Handed” which highlights the effort of people in power (both sides of the isle) to get—not rich but— richer. It represents the biblical idea of “greed’ which Paul called a form of idol worship (Colossians 3:5). Paul called it an ‘impassioned evil’. The Greek word, according to scholarship, designates “the fiercer and ever fiercer longing of the creature which has forsaken God, to fill itself with the lower objects of sense.” Trench calls it “the monsters of lust” [Trench, “Synonyms” pg. 83]. Cicero called it a “rapacious avarice” [Pro Coel. 6].
It is more than a “love of money” which is its offspring and which may even attract the most religious (Luke 16:14) . Money for money’s sake is not greed. It is its toady. The lover of money only wants to hoard it; the greedy are consumers who use it for what they can purchase—even if money is purchasing more money—or worse, power. Beware consumerism for consumerism’s sake!
Happiness, Jesus cautioned, is not in the Best Buy or in purchasing power. Happiness is a reliance on our Lord to sustain us! (2 Corinthians 9:10)
Schweizer’s book is about “the families of congressional leaders and how they “secured hundreds of millions of dollars in lucrative deals. … How the biggest names on Wall Street … get the inside track on billion-dollar deals.” Think what you will of Schweizer, the point was poignantly made by the Savior, “God said to the greedy, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be!” (Luke 12:20).
When I began a study of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the poor” included the words from Matthew’s account “… in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) which some copyists of the Greek text sought to, in error, include here in Luke’s account. But now I keep them separate believing BOTH ideas carried a great importance for the Savior.
There is no shame in trusting God for all our needs; in fact, it is the circumstance of the blessed! The last thing any believer should want is a winning lottery ticket which brings with it a multitude of woes! The last thing we want is to discard our Lord’s interest in our lives for the pursuit of temporary pleasures.
When your bank account dwindles, your stock options lose worth, your favorite toy is broken, you struggle to make the mortgage or rent or you are down to the jar of peanut butter for food for you and the children, remember God!
Learn to trust Him! He won’t let you down. You’ll find real happiness!