Invest With The Best

“The kingdom of heaven” is the place where God rules, where his will is done, where he is King.

Only when we know how much we need God will we make him our King. Our one and only King, refusing pluralism. Living by his rules and morals, refusing relativism. Depending upon him for our success and significance, refusing self-dependence.

If we will not admit how much we need God, we’ll be king and God will not.

This is the foundational issue to all genuine success, joy, peace, happiness in life. Who is king, you or God? Are you poor in spirit, or not?

When we are king, church is a Rotary Club with a Bible study, part of the culture but nothing more. We attend church in the same way that we attend other civic or charitable functions. We are religious in the same way that we are Republicans or Democrats—our faith is a compartment of the lives we control. But we are king.

Then Christianity exists to help us succeed. To give us peace and happiness; to help us with our problems; to help us accomplish our goals and fulfill our ambitions. But we are king.

But when we are poor in spirit, we trade in religion for relationship with gratitude. We worship God not so he will bless us but because he has. We read Scripture and pray not to impress God but because we do. We give our time and money not to pay our debt to God but because Jesus already has.

When we are poor in spirit, we admit that we don’t know how to live our lives and make our decisions, so we always pray first. We ask God first. We put God in charge of our problems and ambitions, our struggles and our dreams. We become subjects of the King, seeking every day to do his bidding and fulfill his will.

When we are poor in spirit, we recognize every day that it’s not about us. What matters is building the Kingdom of God, leading other people to make Jesus their King, helping people follow Jesus. Everything we do is a means to this end, when God is our King.

So here’s the question: are you “poor in spirit”? When last did you admit to God that you don’t know how to live your life, and put him at the controls? What’s the last important decision you gave to him first? The last problem you trusted to him in prayer? The last time you did what he said, even though you didn’t understand? Would an objective observer say that God is your King or you are?

Conclusion

Our Beatitudes series is entitled “keys to true success.” Material success requires excellent investments. In an unpredictable, changing world, investing with the best is crucial. Since September 11, for instance, investments in most airlines, hotels and restaurants, and insurance companies have been difficult. Investments in defense companies and security-technology firms have been extremely profitable.

May I urge you to invest your life with the best? Decide today that you want God to be your Lord, your boss, master, ruler. Choose to be “poor in spirit,” admitting how much you need him. Refuse the pluralistic, relativistic, self-reliant culture which surrounds you, and choose to live with him as your King.

What’s in front of you today? What decision? What problem, what issue, worry or burden? Would you be poor in spirit about it today? Would you, before you leave this place today, yield your life in absolute and utter dependence upon God? If you will, you’ll be in the kingdom, you’ll walk in the kingdom and you will experience the kind of makarios, the kind of blessing God yearns to give. But can’t give unless you’ll depend on him. Would you be blessed by God today? Would you be poor in spirit today?

Jesus was. In fact, of all the individuals who have lived in all of human history, has anybody been more dependant upon God than Jesus of Nazareth? Dependent upon God for his miraculous birth. Dependent upon God for his preservation from the wicked clutches of King Herod? Dependent upon God all across his ministry for every meal he ate, every day he lived, the clothes he wore, the places he slept. Absolutely, totally yielded to God for the words he spoke, the ministry he performed, the life he lived. So unconditionally yielded to God that in the Garden of Gethsemane, he could say, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Totally dependent upon God.

Now the world didn’t call him blessed, did it? In fact in the words of the well-known hymn, the writer says, “He was born in an obscure village the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was 30 years of age. Then for three years he was an itinerate preacher. He never owned a home. Never held an office. Never wrote a book. Never traveled more than 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of those things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials, but his own.

“While he was still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned away from him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to the cruelty of his enemies. Put through the mockery of a trial. Crucified between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his cloak, the only piece of property which was his on the earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave to the pity of a friend.”

Makarios? Blessed? Only in every way. Blessed by God with a miraculous birth. Blessed by God with divine providential protection from the time of his birth to the time that his life had come to its end.

Blessed by God with words he would teach which would stand the test of time and resonate across the halls of mankind for 20 centuries. Blessed by God with miraculous power to perform feats which still amaze us today. Blessed by God with the courage to stand before hypocritical accusers and forgive his crucifier. Blessed by God to be able to shout in joyous victory at the moment of his death.