As we gear up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, we will begin to see more and more solicitations for donations to families that are in need. This is the time of year that thrives on canned food admissions to events, toy drives, and angel tree gifts. Like a majority of the Iron Porch readers, I support these efforts to gather food, clothes, and items for children.
Yet I’ve always wondered why we push so hard during the holidays for donations, but not the rest of the year. As someone who grew up in a family that needed occasional assistance, I can attest to the fact that my parents needed food and clothing help throughout the year…not just at Christmas.
The need for sustainable items is an example of poverty, but it’s not the one Jesus references when he speaks of the first beatitude being poor in spirit. Initially, when we are poor in spirit we recognize that we are apart from God and that we crave the gift of salvation provided by Christ’s death on the cross as atonement for our sins. The recognition of being separated from God, by sin, is a profound portion of being poor in the spirit.
Being poor in the spirit doesn’t stop once we become a Christian. Once we accept the Savior, we don’t necessarily lose the brokenness that we had when we first approached the cross. In fact, that brokenness can drive our Christian path. It’s fair to state that until we get to heaven, we will be in a constant state of spiritual poverty. At this point Christians have two choices: 1. we continue to stay poor in the spirit, as we grow closer to Christ and develop ourselves as disciples or 2. we continue to stay poor in the spirit because we give into the brokenness and don’t develop as disciples.
Personally, I’d rather identify as poor in the spirit while continuously growing.
Except that I know it’s easy to slide into the “not developing” category. Life takes over, we become lazy, other items take priority…but we stay in an “undeveloped” status. Because it’s easy to slide, we can’t just push ourselves in spiritual poverty during one season, rather we need to continuously push ourselves spiritually year-round.
As an unbeliever, we need Christ immediately, just as a family at the holidays may need immediate assistance from a canned food drive.
Once a believer, we need to continue to develop that relationship with Christ, just as the needy family may need assistance throughout the year.
I’m praying for those who are poor in the spirit this season (and yes, that means everyone—both believers and non-believers).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 5:3