A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend the night at the Homeless Shelter that New Story Church in Winston Salem offers throughout the winter months. Part of the experience was the time we sat around the dinner table with the guests of the shelter. That was a time of conversation and also a revelation . . .
There was a couple that found themselves dependent on New Story for a place to live/stay. They had been there for about a month and had a plan that in one ore month they would be able to leave and find a place of their own. However, it would take one more month before they could save enough money for an apartment.
As they talked, they explained to me that when they lost their jobs, they did not have resources saved to keep them from becoming homeless. Nor did they have a family to assist and their friends all were in South Florida. They had only lived in the area for 2 – 3 months and had not formed the kind of bonds you need when all of a sudden you face homelessness.
Everything they had fit in 2 plastic tubs. Yet their spirits were good and they saw hope . . .
In the beatitude, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit” the poverty that is being referred to is not just a basic physical poverty. It described those who had no earthly resources whatever, thus put their whole trust in God.
“Blessed are those who have realized their own utter helplessness, and who have put their whole trust in God.”
They become completely detached from material things because they know that those things do not have the power to bring happiness or security; and conversely, they become completely attached to God for they know that God alone brings help, hope, and strength.
No, physical poverty isn’t a good thing, nor is it what Jesus was telling them to aim for. The poverty Jesus calls us to is the kind when we realize that we do not have adequate resources to meet life, thus we find our help and strength in God.
The couple at New Story got that. Do we?