In the life of faith, what is the point of disciples being poor?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew
What kinds of poverty are there?
When I read this verse I think that "poor in spirit" is about not being full of pride, or boastfulness. God wants us to be humble, thankful and appreciative of the things he provides us. Often our own pride, selfishness and sin will create barriers between us and God.
The greek word in this passage comes from Ptochos which means to couch or cower as one helpless. So to be poor in spirit means to fully understand that it is not by our own works, but by our dependence in God that we receive salvation. We can not do anything to grow spiritually without him, we are to submit our lives to God.
In reading the verse, that speaks of the "poor in spirit" being those who are humble, but also separated from the world - in that they don't associate themselves with the cares of this earth, but instead look to what's ahead in eternity.
Your question about the kinds of poverty is somewhat unrelated. You can have physical poverty (lack of material possessions), mental poverty (lack of hope, diminished outlook on life, etc.), or spiritual poverty (lack of faith or lack of resources for faith to grow). I don't believe being poor in spirit means you are "in poverty", because living in poverty suggests a negative problem marked with intense suffering and a life that's not going anywhere, rather than a choice of lifestyle for the sake of living for Christ and obtaining heaven as the ultimate goal.
Many people leave professional jobs to become missionaries. They are able to use their education and professional skills to help others while making far less money. A Scripture which comes to my mind is:
King James Version (KJV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
There are several questions being asked here.
1) What is the point of disciples being poor? I do not believe that disciples are required to be poor. Rather I believe that they should have open eyes of how their blessings can be shared or passed along to others. God wants us to use what He gives us to show love to and care for others.
2) What kinds of poverty are there? People can be poor in spirit, as referenced in the verse you mentioned. This means they are humble and do not set themselves up boastfully as being grand or one of high importance. People can be monetarily poor, having little or no monies or possessions. We can also be poor in health with illness being our poverty. Poverty can also be social, with sufferers being or feeling like an outcast.
We are called to share our blessings with those suffering from all types of poverty: to give to those without, to heal those in need, and love everyone, including the least of these.
Just believing and trusting that God is the Source of their supply, of all good, of all life. He shall provide.
The disciples also followed Jesus as their Shepherd, therefore they shall not want. (23rd Psalm).
The kingdom of heaven is promised to someone being humble (as in above verse) and to being childlike (Matthew 19:14). Jesus taught everyone to believe and trust God without hesitation - same way little kids trust their parents.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit," certainly refers to humility. It means someone who is not haughty or arrogant -- rich of themselves to the point where they say, "notice me."
On the disciples being poor, they were told by Christ not to be concerned with where they would get their next meal or where they would sleep. God in nature takes care of the lilies of the field and the birds in the trees. With faith, all will be provided to you. Christ was teaching them not to become attached to things or dependent upon them. And this works with humility, because humility is the antidote or cure for the worst attachment of all -- that of ego. Ego is the false self that blinds us from the Light of the spiritual world. Ego is the self that we must let die before we can gain everlasting life.
Faith and humility allow the true self (the child of God), within, to awaken from the darkness of ego.
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