Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
A preacher once viewed the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12 as a kind of concession Jesus threw to the unfortunates: “Well, since you aren’t rich, and your health is bad, and your face is wet with tears, I’ll toss out a few nice phrases to make you feel better.”
Unlike medieval kings who threw coins to the masses, though, Jesus had the advantage of dangling real rewards before His audience. He who came down from heaven knew well that the glories of the kingdom of heaven would easily counterbalance whatever misery we might encounter here on earth.
Among many Christians, an emphasis on future rewards has gone out of fashion. My former pastor Bill Leslie used to observe, “As churches grow wealthier and more successful, they’re less likely to sing ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through’ and more likely to intone, ‘This is my Father’s world.’ ”
We dare not discount the value of hope in future rewards. One need only listen to the songs composed by bygone slaves to realize this consolation of belief. “Swing low, sweet chariot, comin’ for to carry me home.” “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus.”
The preacher said, “Over time I have learned to respect, and even long for, the future rewards Jesus has promised.”
Let me go, for earth’s fond pleasures
Soon will vanish and decay;
But the soul has richer treasures
Shining bright as cloudless day.
Dark trials will be rewarded by bright crowns.