Jewish culture (and the Old Testament) often equated wealth with the blessing of the Lord. Jesus’ teachings often challenged conventional religious thinking and would use conventional thinking to provoke thought. The first beatitude that Jesus declared is, “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.” God’s kingdom belongs to those who are “poor in spirit.”
Poverty is not pleasant. To be poor implies a level of desperation. Those that are poor “in spirit” are desperate for God. He is not a luxury. God, and His Spirit are the difference between life and death. Those that are desperate for God know that every word from Him is precious. It is our daily bread. If we don’t receive from Him regularly, we won’t survive.
Poverty also implies lack. There is little of value to lose. From a spiritual perspective this is an understanding that the rich young ruler couldn’t grasp: that all of his possessions did not amount to anything in comparison to Jesus. Surrendering everything to Jesus is only possible in a realization that He is the true riches. Without Him we are absolutely spiritually destitute.
Whatever we have in this world, it doesn’t compare to Jesus. To grow spiritually poor is to let a desperation for the presence and voice of God to grow in our hearts to such a degree that we live to be in His presence, to hear His voice, and to see His will accomplished on the earth, in us, and through us. Today may you so hungry for the Lord, that nothing else matters, and let it produce a boldness to surrender everything to Him, and to follow Him wherever He leads!