Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Mark 10: 17-27
Sir 17: 20-24 / Psa 32

It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
(Mark 10:25)

As I ponder life’s mystery,
Its deepest question comes to me:
What good would all the world’s riches be
If I don’t gain Eternity?

Jesus was about to set out on His journey when a man ran up to ask him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the laws.” And Jesus enumerated them. “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus then lovingly told him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had great possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! … It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” His disciples were astonished, and they asked Him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus replied, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mk. 10:17-27)


In today’s Gospel of Mark, Jesus was not against wealth per se. What He was condemning was one’s attachment to his wealth. Too much preoccupation with our possessions distract us from what is most essential: our right relationship with God and neighbor. It’s not money but our love of money that is the root of evil. As Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon” (Mt.6:24). One will inevitably displace the other. And the man who puts his trust in his money can never be happier than a poorer man who puts his trust in God. “Sleep is sweet to the laboring man, whether he eats little or much, but the rich man’s abundance allows him no sleep” (Eccl.5:11).

What is our greatest treasure in life? Isn’t it ironic that the greatest treasure we can have is the very thing that most people are afraid to acquire because they refuse to give up lesser treasures that corrode and corrupt? Observe that rich young man. Jesus saw the goodness in his heart, looked at him lovingly, and offered him His fellowship. Only a few among thousands that followed our Lord were given the same invitation. Jesus even hinted that He was indeed God when He said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” And yet he could not give up his temporal wealth in exchange for eternal prosperity, even if that was what he said he was seeking in the first place. Excessive wealth is the strongest drug of addiction that can imprison a man’s spirit. Jesus clearly marked the boundaries of earthly wealth and His kingdom when He said, “No one can serve two masters…” (Mt. 7:24) In fact the first prohibition in the 10 Commandments of God is: “Thou shall not have strange gods before me.” In most cases, rich people give more importance to their wealth than God, when in fact they should, “Honor the Lord with (their) wealth… then will (their) barns be filled with grain…” (Prov.3:9-10). Depending on our attitude towards our wealth, it can either be a blessing or a curse. Out of His love for him, Jesus was offering that man a rare chance to gain His eternal blessing. But out of his love for money, the man walked away, a lost soul. Truly, only those who are poor in spirit deserve the kingdom of heaven.

Your blessings are more precious than the fleeting pleasures of wealth; Your Spirit satisfies the deepest longing in my soul… Lord Jesus, You are my greatest treasure. Amen.

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