BLESSED ARE THE POOR

My apologizes for not posting last week.  After a very busy fall I needed a break and took the whole family to Florida.  Kathy tells me I am never really on holidays and to prove her wrong I parked my computer and my cell phone for a whole week.  I had withdrawal symptoms for a few days but found a good 12 step program in Miami and I survived…  “My name is Mark and I am a computer addict.”

I’m not much of a beach person but there was something strangely satisfying about lying on Miami Beach in 30C heat whilst the mercury plunged to -30C back home.  What I really like doing when I venture near the water is checking out the boats.  Those who know me know my passion for watercraft.  I never own less than 3 boats and sometimes my fleet goes up to 5.  Most of them are project boats that need a little TLC and sometimes a lot of it.  The boats down in parts of Florida are in a whole different category.  Sixty footers, 90’s and many 120′ yachts grace their harbours.  This is as close as I got to getting aboard one.  I sat here by this 125′ Palmer-Johnson for 10 minutes before a crew member told me to take a hike.  Hey, they shouldn’t have set the chair out so inviting-like if they didn’t want me  to sit in it.

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As I stood gawking at these giant multi-million dollar toys of the rich and famous I casually commented to Kathy that these things make me feel poor.  She laughed and said, “not me!  We have so much more than most of these people. We have a marriage that has lasted 28 years, 3 grown kids that all love God, and all our real needs are always meet.”  Man, I hate it when she is right.  Which is most of the time.  Its like the old saying, If a man is walking alone in the forest, and he says something, and there’s no woman there to disagree with him. Is he still wrong?

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When Jesus said, blessed are the poor he was not talking about poverty.  There is nothing blessed about people starving to death.  He was talking about being poor in spirit…humble and contrite under the mighty hand of God.  With wealth often comes a certain pride and self-reliance that feels it doesn’t need God.  Paul said in 1 Cor.1:26  “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” This is not to say they are not invited, because they are.  What it means is that too often they do not accept the call to follow Christ.  Jesus made that clear in the story of the rich young ruler.  He invited him to sell all and become one of His disciples.  But he walked away with his head low “because he had much riches.”  Jesus told his disciples, “how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God.”

It got me thinking, maybe if I was born into wealth and it was me aboard that yacht, would I have given my life to follow Christ?  My less sanctified side still says, well I would at least like to give it a try and find out.  But, my wiser side says, No, Kathy is right, we have everything that really matters in life. So in a way being poor in spirit is what makes us truly rich.

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