Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What is it about humility that makes it such a challenge? We have probably all heard the story about the little boy who was voted the most humble at school. His classmates voted him most humble. His teacher commended him and pinned him with the prized most humble button, but alas, they had to remove his distinguished honor because he wouldn’t quit wearing the pin and referring to it!
Humility is by nature not something that can be attained by selfish competition nor can it be selfishly proclaimed or pointed out. Being blessed in the kingdom is bound up in our willingness to seek God and His righteousness selflessly not selfishly (Matt 5:3). Selfish has to do with where we expect our reward.
At least nine times, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus will mention our reward for what we have done (Matt 5:12, 46; 6:1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 16, 18). Those who seek the attention of men get what men give them and nothing more. Their reward does not come from heaven, but from men!
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus tells us to be careful with our motives. The word of God is constantly judging the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts if we will listen to it (Heb 4:12). The fact is we all know that two people can do the same thing with two different motives – one is selfless and the other is focused on self. In the kingdom, blessings do not come to those whose actions hold a view toward this world! The blessings of the kingdom come to those who do what they do with a view toward heaven, the source of blessing. Your Father in Heaven rewards what is done in secret (Matt 6:4). May God bless us in our humble pursuit of a poor spirit and a pure heart, Amen!