Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
We are looking into the teaching of Jesus, and so far it reveals to us the kinds of people who have favor with God. So far we know the impoverished of spirit do, as do the humble, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness because they know their unrighteousness, those who mourn, and those who are merciful because they know how much they need mercy. These are they who have God’s favor.
The first thing we should notice about this list so far is that these are not your typical spiritual giants. In churches and in most Christian contexts, these are the least likely to be picked as being God’s favorites. And yet, here they are in God’s Hall of Fame. This should tell us right off that we are not thinking the way God thinks. We have our own ideas of those who please God that generally consist of those people who impress us. Things like success, wealth, power, position, personality — these are the things that impress us, and we make the common mistake of thinking people who possess these qualities are the most godly; the ones who can be the most effective for God. We even think that God may have made them that way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God is impressed with people who are not impressive. These are people who would not be on anyone’s Most Likely to Succeed list. They are probably the most likely to be forgotten. I find I have to make adjustments to my own thinking if I want to find myself on this list, mainly because I have not been seeking these things in my life. And the further we delve into God’s hall of fame here, the stranger it gets. This always impresses me every time I look more deeply into this teaching. Why do you suppose this is so?
God does not help those who help themselves, because if they can help themselves, they don’t need God. God is closest to people who need Him.
God has His own Most Likely to Succeed list and this is it — one of the least popular, certainly least understood, passages of scripture we have. And this is where the teaching of Jesus starts.
We have a tendency to be most impressed with people who don’t seem to need God because they have so much going for them. We even think these people will help God’s cause more because they are already famous.
Fame in God’s world consists of poverty of soul, humility of heart, sorrow of mind, emptiness of spirit, and hunger for more of everything that has to do with God.
Every time I study the teaching of Jesus, I find I need to push the reset button on my values. How about you?
Next week we’ll talk about the pure in heart.