Summary: How God wants us to be doers not wanters. That we are not entitled but are granted living through his grace.
05102009 Blessed Are Those…
We might shake our heads at such blatant hypocrisy, but the truth is most people fail to live up to their own Words. One prime example of this might be Karl Marx who wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848. Marx’ had --- and still has --- millions of followers. His Philosophy has shaped (and some would say, ruined) many Nations for a hundred years. Marxists consider Karl Marx a champion of the under classes. But even his staunchest defenders admit that Marx did not live what he preached. He wrote “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” But he must have seen himself in the “needy” category because he never held a steady job. Instead he lived off the inheritance of his aristocratic wife and his wealthy friend, Friedrich Engels. He preached revolution for the downtrodden masses --- but did not form friendships outside his own class. In his personal life, Marx formed few close ties. In fact, when he died, only 11 people came to his funeral. Karl Marx and Jesus Christ had several things in common. Both were considered Revolutionaries. Both championed the Poor, the Outcasts and the Downtrodden. But the similarity ends there. People might follow the TEACHINGS of Marx, but they can’t follow the EXAMPLE of his life. On the other hand, Jesus lived the simple, generous, pure life he advocated. He surrounded himself with the common folks that he championed. Jesus reached out to the Poor. He touched and healed the Outcasts. He lifted up the Downtrodden. Jesus truly LIVED what he taught.
Today’s Gospel reading takes us to the sermon on the mount, where Jesus list all those things we do or can do that will bring blessings into our lives. In a way they are like the “ 10Commandments of the New Testament” Lets name them off
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:3-11,16 NRSV).
Ten commandments and unlike the 1st Ten Commandments the most important command is given at the end. “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
I) So, what do you think God is trying to tell us through these verses? Well what if we changed the wording. Where in the Bible do we find the other version of the Beatitudes? (Luke 6:20-26 Right?)
A) My opinion: God is trying to tell us that we are to seek out the poor in spirit, grieve with and comfort those who are mourning, strive to be the peacemakers, and stand for what is right even when it means putting your life on the line. It is through these acts that people will see the strength of your faith and worth of following Christ.
B) Remember being a church committed to God is not an easy task, it means knowing you may not be liked by those around you.
II) So what does God want people to be and or to do? I am of the belief first and foremost God wants us to be devoted whole heartedly to him. If we think back to the illustration of Karl Marx and Jesus Christ… I am of the opinion that people that try to incorporate Socialist principles into our church do the teachings of Jesus a great disservice. Socialism teaches its followers to believe in the state for all your cares. Marx had such disdain for the lower classes he felt they were a tool to be used rather than anything to be lifted up to a better life. Jesus on the other hand wants us to become better people, this is the message that God has had for us since the very beginning.
Jesus never said we were entitled to anything. We were not entitled to forgiveness from our sins. It was given to us freely, even when we didn’t deserve. The same goes for life, we are not entitled to have as much as somebody else, it is something we work for. It is the fruit of our labors! Like blessings we receive are the result of fruits of our spiritual labors.