March 6, 2018

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  – Matthew 5:1-12

These “Beatitudes” are the opening statements in the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus spoke and shared many pieces of wisdom, instruction, and values for living our lives.  Each beatitude starts with the word “blessed” (and “happy” in some biblical translations).  The beatitudes share how we are blessed in many different circumstances of life through our faith.  We all want to live a happy and blessed life, right?

But when we think about what it means to live a blessed life, some of these values from the Beatitudes are not the first that would come to mind.  We think about having a full life, experiencing happiness, and finding success. To be meek or poor in spirit, to mourn or be persecuted, are not usually characteristics that others would define as a life known for abundance and success.  Not always, but oftentimes, climbing to the top in everything from sports, politics, or the professional ladder usually requires more self-centeredness, money, finding faults, and even wounding others.  These do not line up, and even contradict, the values of the Beatitudes.

Jesus was teaching that there is more to life than what everyday worldly culture is telling us.  Jesus is telling us that there is more to consider when we think about true joy and blessing and living a life of faith.  Selfless love is exhibited through Jesus’ example to us in the way He taught, the way He lived, and ultimately the sacrifice He gave for each one of us.  As you read through the Beatitudes today, be encouraged and find hope as you face each day knowing there is great blessing in following the values that Jesus desires for us to live.  This is really what it means to live a blessed and abundant life!

Amy Givens, Director of Youth Ministry