Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12
Observation: As a crowd gathers around Jesus, he introduces the “beatitudes,” which describe how people who follow him should live and what type of character they should have. He also outlines the promises they receive as part of their blessing.
Application: Turn on the TV, click on your social media account, flip open a magazine, and quickly, you’ll see who our world blesses: The ones who have success. The ones who accumulate wealth. The ones who are productive and efficient and innovative. The ones who are getting more, doing more, being more.
Yet these people? Not a single one of them show up in this list of who God blesses. Instead, Jesus opens his sermon by telling us exactly who God blesses:
- The ones who have nothing (the poor)
- The ones who grieve loss (those who mourn)
- The ones who get low (the humble)
- The ones who desire to serve the Lord alone (those who hunger and thirst for justice)
- The ones who show kindness to those going through tough times (the merciful)
- The ones whose hearts are simple, true, and pointed towards God (the pure-hearted)
- The ones who choose peace over violence (the peaceful)
- The ones who are rejected for believing in Jesus (the persecuted)
This is who God blesses: the less-thans, the not-enoughs, the marginalized, the outcasts, the don’t-quite-measure-ups.
He blesses the ones the world rejects.
So to the ones who have felt the sting of rejection, the pang of guilt for not being enough, the desperation of poverty, the exclusion from the crowd because of your beliefs – you are not what the world says about you. You are what God says about you, and he says you will be accepted, satisfied, comforted, blessed beyond measure.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things about you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Let’s live a life worthy of God’s favor – putting ourselves in a position of humility so we can place him in a position of honor. Let’s be merciful and pure-hearted and resilient against persecution. Let’s seek peace and let our hearts beat for who God’s heart beats for.
Our reward is waiting.
Prayer: God, thank you for being God of the ones the world rejects. I pray you’ll show us what attitude, behavior, or action we need to change to become the ones you’re calling us to be. Thank you for your blessing and the security we find in you. Amen.