When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
Matthew 5:1-5 (The Message)
This morning God drew me near to Him. He spoke to my heart as I listened. He asked me to open His Word and He directed me to what He wanted me to read. One of the passages I read was Matthew 5 - more specifically, the Beatitudes. I’ve never read this passage before from The Message Bible, and it struck me how alive the words now seemed to me - as if I were reading them for the first time. I drew comfort, understanding, peace, and encouragement from reading the words of Jesus. I’ve kept my Bible open to this passage since reading this morning. I’ve gone back and read them again. And as I sit here typing this blog, I’m reading them again. It never ceases to amaze me how Christ’s words hold so much life in them, even when He says that I’m blessed when... I’m at the end of my rope, and I feel I’ve lost what is most dear to me. To the world, these statements would seem to be dichotomous. How can one be considered blessed when they’re at the end of themselves or have lost what is most dear or are persecuted for their commitment to God? It’s amazingly simple - yet so hard to live out on a daily basis, minute after minute.
With less of me... there is more of God!