Some of the most famous words of Jesus are found in the Beatitudes, part of the Sermon on the Mount. Most Christians are familiar with the words, although they are sometimes contrary to the ways we want to live. Pastors Matt and Phil at Lewis Center United Methodist Church have been preaching a series on the Beatitudes. One verse per week.
Because the verses are so short, the pastors have plenty of time to unpack them. Both pastors have been doing their best to explain what they mean and how we should live based on them. The words are beautiful and simple, but following them is harder than you would think. Even explaining them can be challenging.
One thing Pastor Matt has been doing particularly well is defining the terms. What does it mean to be blessed? Being blessed means living in the fullness of God, filled with God’s grace. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Being poor in spirit is living sacrificially. It means choosing to care for the needs and burdens of others instead of focusing on ourselves. What does it mean to be meek? It means knowing our weaknesses and strengths and giving both to God.
I especially liked Pastor Matt’s illustration of meekness. He said that being meek is like being a well-trained horse. A horse is big and strong and it could use that strength to destroy. But a well-trained horse willingly submits to bridle and rein so that it can be controlled. When we are meek, God is the Master in charge of our reins. We willingly submit so that what we do may be for his glory.
I like the Beatitudes because each one contains a promise. If we struggle with the first part, we can embrace the second part. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted. None of us really want the first part, but we have to exhibit those qualities in order to inherit the promise. We don’t want to be meek, poor in spirit, mourn. But we are grateful and blessed with our inheritance and our comfort.