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?

cartoon men wrong

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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12 Responses to BLESSED ARE THE POOR

  1. Leora says:

    Dear Mark,
    It is great to hear that you took time for a vacation, and yes of course your wife is right, you are rich beyond measure!

  2. Carmen says:

    Have to agree with Kathy…even though money is nice to have, I wouldn’t want to rely on anything or anyone but Jesus! Everything else fades or dies.

  3. Isaac says:

    I think of Paul who learned to be content in any circumstance, rich, poor, well-fed, or hungry. He must’ve really had Christ as the absolute centre of his life. He wrote those words in prison.

    Or like James, who taught us to get to the place of being whole and complete wanting nothing is when we learn to have joy in the worst of circumstances. We want nothing, not because we have everything, be we’re content with whatever God gave us.

    God bless ya’ll. And yeah it’s good to hear that you and your family got away from it all Mark. You deserve it.

  4. todd says:

    I feel a little richer after joining 8,000 people at the MTS Centre this morning. Wow. The whole, powerful experience today made me think of the line – “if you build it, they will come”. One day the rest of the Rock will developed to seat several thousand people. I have no doubt about that.

  5. Big Bill says:

    Hey Mark! It was truly awesome that I got to meet you on Sunday in Calgary. Thanks for the pic and the hugz! I loved your message on attitude of gratitude! I have herd that message before but it was so awesome to hear it live and for more then half an hour! I can’t wait until you guys come back! Your jokes and stories where so funny too even if one was Conan’s lol!

    Your friend and Brother in Christ
    Bill :)

  6. Dave says:

    I really got a lot from “Attitude for Gratitude”, when you were here in Calgary.
    Love your wife and respect your husband is a terrific message.

    It makes me marvel at how the Good Book has that kind of information,

    I was married once(15 yrs ago), and I suppose the reason I am not now was the msg you supplied in Calgary.
    I am originally from Regina, and told my parents(who are now in their 80′s) that the best feelings I ever had was when I was a teenager and went to these Christian Youth conferences.
    They had suggested to me to check out the local retreat house and get into one of the retreats, for a “Re-Invigoration of Spirit”. Well, after seeing you on Sunday, I am still in the mood for some re-invigorating, and I just finished signing up this weekend for some, luckily the theme for this weekend is on “Renewal”, the perfect theme for me.
    Anyway, thanks for being in Calgary last weekend and happy trails to you.

  7. Connie says:

    Pastor Mark,
    Thank you so much for coming to Edmonton! This is my second year attending and my daughter (who is 19) asked in December if you were touring and said “Mom, are we going this year?” It melted my heart and felt so wonderful for her to “want” to go ! Your message was fantastic as always and just want to say thank you again for making a difference!!
    Rich in God’s love

  8. Evelyn says:

    I loved your message. Just recently I was struggling with the heart and outward appearances.

    All we need really is love and the understanding that God will always be there in the midst of our circumstances good or bad.

  9. Robin says:

    Hi Pastor Mark, Geez I’ve been meaning to send you a message for what seems like weeks…however better late than never. My husband and I were your front row people when you were in Surrey a few weeks ago. You are an amazing and powerful speaker. God has sure blessed you with the gift of “delivering the message”. And I am so grateful to have been able to attend your service “Good Vibrations” ,having an attitude of gratitude. It was just fantastic and even though it was such a spectacular sermon, funny, thought provoking, and really hit home, We Thank you for not becoming “bigger than the message”, you are giving… you are a wonderful ambassador for Christ our Lord…. We look forward to seeing you next year, and if we take a bike trip to Winnipeg this summer, we will certainly come to Church of the Rock…….Continued blessings to you and your family, Robin and Rob.

  10. Renata says:

    Mark, “with all due respect”, you putz. Your pic by the yacht, -you should have been a drama queen. …man, did I laugh! Seriously, bless you for living out, as the country song (your favorite style of music,) says: remember, I’m just a guy. Cudos to Robin for recognizing you don’t become “bigger than the message”. The way you lay your dignity on the line sometimes, is amazing. But keep up the mentoring and teaching in your marvelous way! Too many people get hooked up on & critique, the delivery. But I, I tip …my cowgirl hat! (-:(D God Bless

  11. Renata says:

    …”putz” is a term of endearment I have out of respect for my friends putting their dignity on the line for us to laugh together. Hey, …isn’t that good medicine? Keep it up! And thanks. (I know someone’s gonna’ judge my previous comment as dissin Mark. Now, I’ve seen the scenario where a pastor quotes a lot of scripture, but the relevant application to today gets missed. He gets seen as very Spiritual and a good leader because he “knows” so much, but how we apply what we’re hearing is not taught and an unhealthy dependency and looking up to that “leader” is created. Wouldn’t we rather learn how to apply the scripture and give God -the word- the glory? Gee, isn’t that what Mark is always prompting? :)

  12. Brent says:

    Hi Pastor. You certainly have a gift, and you’re not afraid to say something if you believe it to be true. That being said, does having 3-5 smaller boats make not make you quite financially rich? Those who follow God’s Word must guard against apostacy. It might help to read Luke’s version of the beatitudes.

    Brent.

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