Week 1 – Poor in Spirit
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The “poor in the spirit” are those who realize that they are spiritually bankrupt, and must rely on God alone for the ability to even fathom Him, let alone to have the choice to accept His offer of reconciliation. This poverty of spirit flavors the whole person – flowing through the persons thoughts and actions. Of course, we are mere human reflectors of the Divine Glory that flows within us. The best way to understand a poverty of spirit is to explore the idea of poverty itself, and draw some analogies, which is how we approached the teaching this week, to mirror the book’s approach. The suggested experiments follow two paths: inward reflection or outward expression.
I chose one of the “outward expression” experiments, which was to visit the Kiva.org website and “co-sponsor” a loan for an entrepreneur in a developing country. My only twist was that I wanted this to be a family project. My goal was that we would go to the site together, choose a world area together, choose a country together, and then choose a person to co-sponsor. This “twist” proved to be quite a frustrating experience to be honest.
The “together” part was a challenge. My daughter is in college and only comes home for the weekends – sometimes. Thankfully she was coming, but that meant that we were limited to Friday night and Saturday to get it done before church on Sunday. Also, my son is a fairly independent teenager who has his own agenda when it comes to how he spends his time. Then there’s my bride, Angel, who is such hard working teacher that I really hate to put anything else on her plate, especially since she uses Saturdays to work on Sunday’s children’s lessons. Waiting for the weekend proved to e extremely taxing on my patience.
I got really excited about the family project. Once everyone was home, and relatively “un-busy”, I hooked the computer up to our home theater projector and launched the website. Then I told everyone it was time to get ready to do our experiment. After some prying from their activities, we finally assembled and refreshed the Kiva page. And there it was – a dreadful message: “all loans an this site are fully funded.” Seriously??? Ten minutes ago, there WERE loans available to co-sponsor. Where did they go? Apparently, there are way too many eager lenders for the number of loans that flow through the system.
I read the FAQ that said they updated hourly. Yeah, right – on a Saturday night, I highly doubt there will be a new loan posted. I felt frustrated and defeated. There is no way that I, the pastor, can show up at church not having done a Kingdom Experiment. GRRRR! My patience is all but gone now. So, I sat there, sulking, and feeling sorry for myself. With a sense of futile resignation, I flippantly hit the reload button. VOILA! A new loan opportunity showed up! We cheered and read the bio, then eagerly processed our money.
The picture above is the person whose business we sponsored. Her name is Natalia Casalino Antesana, and she is trying to expand her booth at a fish market in Peru.
What did I learn? I learned to be patient with God’s timing. He is so wise and He is never late. Sometimes I want to do things my way and on my time table. OK, so maybe “sometimes” is a bit more generous than I should be for my OCD tendencies. I truly believe that when we seek to honor God, His faithfulness will shine. My challenge is to trust Him all the way,not just with the “what” but also with the “when” and “how”.
In His grip!
Herb Halstead, Pastor