|Tribune Content Agency
Nov 21, 2018
|From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: The Sermon on the Mount is an inspiration even to people who are not necessarily inclined to have faith in God. It also moves me deeply, but what exactly does the verse mean that says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”? — S.S.
A: Many people have asked, “How can being poor in spirit be a blessing?” No one is more pathetic than the person who is in great need and is not aware of it! If we are to be poor in spirit, we must be aware of our spiritual poverty; it means being conscious of our constant dependence on God. The great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “The first link between my soul and Christ is … not my riches but my need.” Only God can satisfy our soul’s emptiness — its deepest longings, desires, and appetites — but not everyone recognizes that truth and turns to Him.
The soul requires as much attention as the body. It demands fellowship and communion with God. It demands worship, quietness, and meditation. Unless the soul is fed and exercised daily, it becomes weak and shriveled.
Wise, then, is the person who openly confesses their lack of spiritual wealth and in humility cries out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). This passage tells about the religious man who boasted of his spirituality, contrasted by the sinner who cried out for mercy. In God’s economy, spiritual emptiness comes before filling, and spiritual poverty before riches. Happiness, Jesus said, comes from admitting that we are lacking, and then asking Him to come into our lives. God stands ready and able to show His boundless mercy. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.