Whom Do You Trust?
Blessed are the poor in spirit
A young lad on vacation went to Church with his parents one sunny Sunday morning. He listened closely to the sermon which was entitled, “Whom Do You Trust?” After Church, the boy put on his swimming trunks and went to the beach. Before going into the water he walked up to a kindly looking woman sitting on the sand under a beach umbrella. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. Although somewhat puzzled by the boy’s question, she smiled and said, “Yes I am.” Then the little fellow asked, “Were you in Church this morning?” “Yes I was,” the woman replied. Whereupon, the lad asked his final question: “Will you hold my quarter while I go swimming?”
In today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus tells us that the necessary precondition for our wholeness of life — genuine happiness — is to trust everything to God, that is, our very lives.
“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth, and taught them saying,
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when you put your complete trust in God.
‘Blessed are those who mourn’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when, out of your sorrow for the world’s suffering and your own sins of indifference, you put your complete trust in the healing, saving, redeeming Power of God.
‘Blessed are the meek’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when you allow yourself — every instinct, every impulse, every passion — to be God-controlled instead of self-controlled.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when you learn to really empathize with other people: see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings — just as God in Jesus Christ does with you.
‘Blessed are the merciful’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when you begin to relate everything you do to the all-merciful God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ — O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when the Rule of God governs your relationships with other people.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake … Blessed are you when men revile you on My account’– O, how fulfilled, how happy you will be when you identify your response to your sufferings with Jesus’ response to His sufferings: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mt. 26:39).
With those “Beatitudes,” as we call them, Jesus is teaching us never to forget that everything comes from God. And, if we want to experience life the way God wants us to experience it we must cease and desist in trying to fashion or merit what only He can do. Fulfillment comes only to the human creature who refuses absolutely to play the role of Creator in any way. By the Resurrection Power of God, we are made sharers in His eternal life. We cannot create or attain this life by means of our own wisdom and strength. And when we try to do that, instead of sharing in God’s life, we are asking God to share in our life, fashioned by our meagre resources. Jesus is telling us in today’s Lesson that God not only wants us to achieve our full, human potential (wants us to be happy), but also that we can trust God to empower us to do so. An allegory:
Consider the walnut! If you compare a walnut with some of the beautiful and exciting things that grow on our planet, it does not seem to be one of creation’s great marvels. The walnut is common, rough, not particularly attractive, and certainly not very valuable, in any monetary sense. Moreover, it is small. Its growth is limited by the hard shell that surrounds it — the shell from which it never escapes during its lifetime!
Of course, that’s the wrong way to judge the walnut. Break one open and look inside. See how the walnut has grown to fill every nook and cranny available to it! It had no say in the size or shape of that shell but, given those limitations, it achieved its full potential of growth.
O, how blessed, how happy we will be if, like the walnut, we blossom and bloom in every crevice of the life that is given us! Take heart! If one nut can do it, so can we all!
O, how blessed, how happy we will be when we humbly acknowledge that only God is the Source of our life enrichment.
O, how blessed, how happy we will be when we learn to trust in the Rule of God to make us blossom and bloom in every crevice of the life that is given us.
Let go of all your anxious worry! Immerse yourself into the Being of God. Experience His loving Presence. Let go of the anxiety that has you so uptight! Trust God in this way! Build this attitude into a whole style of life, and you will begin to experience genuine happiness — and it will begin to rub off on others.
You can minister effectively to others only out of your strength. To be a good parent, to be a good spouse, to be a good son or daughter, to be a good friend, to be a good neighbor, you need to use the resources God pours into your life. You need to trust in those resources to give you the courage and the strength and the dedication and the hope that will equip you for your Christian ministry of loving service. And therein lies your fulfillment! Therein lies your genuine happiness!
In this moment of Grace, let us resolve to empty ourselves of all claim to self-sufficiency. Let us resolve to reject whatever it is or whoever it is we are depending on for fulfillment apart from God. Let us empty it all out right now, in God’s Presence. And with true poverty of spirit let us cry out, “Oh God, I’ve emptied it all out and there’s nothing left. Oh God, I’m at the end of my resources. Oh God, I am helpless before you.” Throw your entire being on God’s Love and Mercy. Let Him love you as perhaps you have never felt Him love you before. And know the meaning of the first Beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, wrote:
Hunger would be absurd if there was no such thing as food. Thirst would be absurd if there was no such thing as water. Loneliness would be absurd if there was no possibility of satisfying that yearning in relationship with another human being. The desire to find God would be absurd if He did not exist.
To which we might add:
The need for us to be able to trust unconditionally would be absurd if God, our Father, had made Himself unavailable to us.