INNER CIRCLE: Blessed Are The Poor

INNER CIRCLE: Blessed Are The Poor May 12, 2023

Saying 54: Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, for yours in the Kingdom of God.”


Taking into consideration all we have learned so far from Jesus in this Gospel of Thomas, it should be quite evident what this short saying is all about.

The poor are those who recognize that this physical world has nothing of any value to offer them. They seem to be living in poverty from our worldly perspective. But their lack of property is not a sign of their lack but rather a sign that they realize the foolishness of “mine” and “yours” ways of thinking.

We may pity the poor because they lack houses, or clothing, but they, in their poverty, are closer to recognizing the emptiness of ownership, and the foolishness of dressing ourselves up for one another.

If anything, it is our overabundance that has blinded us to the reality of God’s Kingdom, which is everywhere, in all of us, all of the time.

In other words, to the degree that we are focused on the material things in this life: clothing, money, material possessions, etc., the more the Kingdom of God fades into the background. We become convinced that what matters most is the abundance of things and the spiritual reality of God’s Kingdom because less important or necessary for us.

When we let go of those things, or when those things are in short supply, we may, eventually, learn that we never needed them in the first place. Our happiness is not dependent on owning those things, and, in fact, we may come to the realization that when we owned those things, the reality was they actually owned us.

Once we can break out dependence on those material possessions that keep us tethered to this material reality, it is then that we recognize what is truly valuable and what really matters: love, joy, generosity, giving, sharing, laughing, and being alive.

This is why Jesus recommends in the Gospel of Matthew the importance of letting go of our constant worries about where we will live, or what we will wear, or what we will eat. Because our worries do nothing to provide those things for us, and because God, our loving Father, has an abundance of whatever we need in this moment for this very day.

Instead, Jesus urges us to let go of our continual worry about material needs. He asks us to look around at the birds who are fed by the same God in whose image we are made. He urges us to lift our eyes and behold the flowers of the field the Father has clothed so beautifully. He asks us to trust in this God who surrounds us with an eternal loving presence, and who holds us close in an eternal embrace. He reminds us that the material world around us is an illusion and that the Kingdom of God is the only actual reality we should concern ourselves with.

Everything else will take care of itself if we can focus our eyes on the ever-present Kingdom of God and find ourselves deep in the very heart of a God who is love incarnate and who fills everything, and all of us, in every way.

Once we realize that we are all rich in all the things that matter, our poverty is replaced by an abundance of peace that no one can ever take away.

Have you taken the INSIDE/OUTSIDE online course? It’s a self-paced journey into the Gospel of Thomas led by author Keith Giles, with supplemental materials from Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, David Brakke, and other scholars.

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Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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