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“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!”

Matt 5:3 GNB

Whilst it is customary to quote the beatitudes with the familiar phrase “Blessed are…” the real meaning of the original words is quite definitely “happy” in the sense of being given joy and peace by God.

We have to be careful with this beatitude. Jesus is not glorifying poverty. “The poverty which is blessed is the poverty of spirit, the spirit which realises its own utter lack of resources to meet life, and which finds its help and strength in God. Jesus says that to such a poverty belongs the Kingdom of Heaven. Why should that be so?

If we take the two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and set them together: ‘Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, we get the definition: The Kingdom of God is a society where God’s will is perfectly done in earth as it is in heaven. That means that only he who does God’s will is a citizen of the Kingdom; and we can only do God’s will when we realize our own utter helplessness, our own utter ignorance`, our own  utter inability to cope with life, and when we put our whole trust in God. Obedience is always founded on trust. The Kingdom of God is the possession of the poor in spirit, because the poor in spirit have realised their own utter helplessness without God, and have learned to trust and obey”(W. Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, p87).

We do not get a reward from God for anything that we do. But trusting in him utterly brings us closer to God and he is his own reward.


Lord, help me trust and obey you implicitly.


I pray today for people who write – historians, analysts, academics, journalists and commentators. Help them to perceive the situations in their own countries and in the larger global community accurately and perceptively. Help them to communicate in ways that their readers can understand. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN

I.B.R.A. Readings

Matthew 24:1–14


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