DAY 3 – "The Wealth of Being Poor in Spirit" | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

Friday, February 03, 2023 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

The Wealth of Being Poor in Spirit


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[Text of the same lesson from the audio]

Matthew 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Our western, American, prosperity-driven, materialistic mindset wants nothing to do with anything “poor.” So we should not be surprised if a person’s first, uninformed, reaction to words like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” would be “No way! Not me!” Sometimes people only read “blessed are the poor…”

If material poverty was the will of God, Jesus would have never provided for people in need or told us to do the same for others. One commentary compared being poor in spirit to “bankruptcy.” This is a poor example because declaring bankruptcy comes from either unforeseen circumstances or irresponsible behavior.

There is great wealth for those who are willing to be poor in spirit.

In biblical Greek there are two words for “poor.” There is the word penes which describes someone who works for a living and who rises or falls based on his own efforts. Penes is not the word used in this Beatitude.

The other word is ptochos, which describes a person who has absolutely nothing. This is the word used in Matthew 5:3. The idea is that a Christ and Kingdom follower has made the decision to place all of his/her trust in God rather than in material things and earthly resources.

We make the decision to fill our hearts (our spirit) with God’s presence and spiritual resources. We place priority on this objective more than material gain. As Jesus also said later in this same sermon:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
(Matthew 5:33)

It was as if Jesus said, “When you make the choice to place my Kingdom and purposes above your own ambitions, abandon your craving for things, live to give, and forsake striving for status, I will open doors for you to find greater blessings in my Kingdom.” (my words)

One of the things you will quickly notice about people who truly serve God, in the Bible and in life, is this: They never lack material things and needed resources unless they decide to go without it!

There is great wealth in being poor in spirit! That wealth is oriented in this order of priority: 1) spirit, 2) soul, 3) body. God’s way is never oriented as, 1) body, 2) soul, 3) spirit.

Materially rich and poor people can commit the same sin of the heart: Lusting for money and things. The rich person (or wasteful person) lusts for stuff and gets it. The poor person lusts for stuff and does not get it (or gets it, but is unable to sustain it).

So, declare yourself to be ptochos, so that Jesus can open to you the doors of His Kingdom and release blessings through the “windows of heaven.” (Malachi 3:10)

Based on this lesson, what does being "poor in spirit" look like to you?



• Message by Dr. Tony Evans, "Blessed Are the Spiritual Beggars" (Matthew 5:3)

• Follow this link to a resource from Zondervan Academic on the Beatitutes:

• Follow this link to a resource on the Beatitudes from BibleGateway:

• Follow THIS LINK (or copy/paste) to the web version of Barclay's Commentary on the New Testament:

THIS LINK is a downloadable PDF of Barclay's Commentary


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