Blessed are those who mourn. Really?


I’ve been re-visiting the Sermon on the Mount. That’s the one that starts out with the “Beatitudes,” and I’m struck, again, with how strange and totally foreign these words are to our “Anthony Robbins” way of thinking. This is not a success-by-numbers speech. This is anything but.

Think about it. Who are our “golden” ones–our “blessed” ones? Those who pursue their passion. Those who set goals and meet them. Those who courageously and fearlessly plow through obstacles or face fears to win the prize. Our ideals are all wrapped up in performance.

Jesus takes a completely different stance. He says that the blessed ones are those who are “poor in spirit” and “meek.” He lauds those who “hunger and thirst” for righteousness. He calls the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted blessed. He even says that those who mourn are blessed. There is not a hint of stellar performance in these character traits. He describes people who are down on their luck, desperate, and denied. How is that blessed? He contrasts these with those who are rich, fed, comforted, and well respected. He says they are the ones to be pitied “for they’ve already received their reward.” If we are honest, doesn’t “rich” describe most of us who live in the U.S.? Can we even compare our poor to, say, the poor in Haiti? Calcutta? Zimbabwe? I don’t think so.

I don’t think Jesus is condemning material blessings. After all, all blessings come from God, but I do think he is warning us about being lured into a false sense of security and comfort by them. Those who are desperate, those who mourn, those who are hungry–they know all too well their need. Those who are comfortable and well fed can all too easily fall into a belief that they have need of nothing. When we believe we have (or have access to) all that we need because we are comforted and well fed, we’ve missed the real treasure–and in so doing, we’ve missed everything.

4 responses »

  1. I am not sure this totally relates to your blog but, as much as it pains me to say it, Capitalism is not God’s 1st choice. Communism in it’s purest form is probably what more what God had in mind. However, unless every one is perfect (sinless), communism will not work before selfishness always comes into play. Because of man’s sinful nature, capitalism is a more fair choice. I was thinking earlier this week, if so and so wasn’t well off, then this project/idea/event would never be funded. And of course, I do not have the means to fund a big project, but maybe I do have enough to fund something small that would normally go beyond what the church does with their food pantries and donated clothing. I just wonder what that might be. (Sorry for the randomnous of this.)-Bethany

    • Bethany, I know what you mean. It’s true, too. I remember a friend once teaching that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” aren’t necessarily Biblical either. If you about it, that’s true too: What are we going to do when your pursuit of happiness gets in the way of mine? And how does that square with Jesus words, “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well”?

      No…I like your random thoughts. 🙂 Keep ’em coming. (I was just talking to a friend about your mom yesterday. I’m really enjoying keeping up with your beautiful family through FB.)

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