We Are Moving! (Aren’t we?)

5 10 2010

I am walking through a little study called “Simple Faith” with a group of ladies and the topic we will be discussing today is out of the Sermon On The Mount. The study walks through each “Blessed are…” and really does a great job, with just a few words, of describing each of those attributes (you can read the Sermon in Matthew 5).

But what got me were the two little assignments at the end.  The first was to evaluate yourself and the second was to take each of the attributes and think of a person in your life who really demonstrates one of those 8 qualities. You’d think this would be easy; but it wasn’t.

This has left me thinking…

  • What is known about me? I mean you can’t go out there braggin’ on how “poor in spirit” you are, but if you are poor in spirit, wouldn’t that be noticeable? Or would it be that quality (humility/contriteness) you can’t quite put your finger on but it is magnetic all the same?  When I am drawn to a particular person, is it this that is grabbing me? Or is it just that they have a “cool” personality that is fun to be around? This makes me question myself and it makes me question what I admire in others. What am I looking for? Who am I?
  • Blessed are those who are broken over the broken world, over broken relationships, over lostness and sin. Who do I know like that, someone who is just torn up by all this? Most people I know aren’t. This is a hard one to put a finger on these days because a lot of people are really busy, everyone is “pursuing” something, there are so many items on the buffet table. Who among us are really broken and mourning for this limping world?
  • The gentle; blessed are the gentle. Who is humble and courteous and treats others with value and respect? Who is selfless like that? Who truly deserves that title, “gentleman” or “gentlewoman”? This one was a little easier to put names to because a person like this is quite obvious. Gentleness is something you do wear on your sleeve.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Are these the people who do a lot of reading? Who listen to sermon podcasts? Who can’t go to enough Bible studies? Who attend several churches for different reasons? Whose conversations are peppered with spiritual words? Who don’t ever have a bad day because God is good? I mean who has an honest, insatiable desire for fellowship with God? To be filled and spilling over with His goodness; to be changed and to affect change? Who is just an honest seeker, eating up what God has for him and her to the point that it rubs off on others?
  • Blessed are the merciful. This person enters into the world of another person’s pain and extends compassion (think Good Samaritan). Right away I think of the Gospel Mission and ministries like that but what about generally, what about that quality in general. Are we merciful in general, do we have an everyday mercy; who do I know that is constantly leaving merciful fingerprints wherever he/she goes.
  • Pure in heart. This is a person who lives transparently, free from hypocrisy. People who live transparently — think about what a guarded society we live in.  Think about how long it takes to share your story truthfully. Think about how few people you actually let “in” to your inner and most vulnerable world. If we aren’t straight-up hypocritical, who isn’t somewhat reserved? Who doesn’t hold back? Who doesn’t value a little “privacy”? Who lives inside out these days?
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, yes and amen to that. Blessed are those who ease tension, seek solutions, generate light not heat. Wow, are those people valued in a contentious society like ours! These are the people that bring a little ointment with them when they meet with others. It isn’t that they never say what is true, it is just that the reason they say true things is for honesty’s sake, for true resolution, for a pure process. A few rare souls, these are.
  • Finally, blessed are those who are persecuted, insulted, dissed, lied about, gossiped about. Blessed are you when you take it, when you don’t retaliate, when you speak good instead of evil against those who are coming at you.  When you move towards people and not away; when you stay at the table. Now think about how rare that person is!

I think, walking through this, I realized how hard it is to judge these qualities in others because we are, as we say, “all on a journey” working on and working through what it means to live God’s way. But that thought stopped me, we are all on a journey, aren’t we? I mean, we are going somewhere (growing in these 8 qualities) aren’t we? God help us if we are standing still and just the scenery is changing!

I am finding myself asking, are we just so crazy consumed with the “cares and concerns” of our worlds that, while these qualities may be present, they aren’t the first things that are known and seen? Maybe they aren’t even priorities? Is it possible to even move the mission of Christ forward if these things aren’t glaringly obvious about us who call ourselves Christ-followers?

The author suggests we write these qualities on our calendars and work through them week after week (Monday, mercy. Tuesday, pure in heart…). I am beginning to think this isn’t a bad idea, because if this is the most incredible sermon ever preached, it should have more of an impact on us and on our world. If these things aren’t easy to see, then maybe we need to study them harder and apply them more practically.

Anyway, I don’t have any brilliant ending this morning, I just feel really challenged. If Jesus said there is a blessing to being these things, maybe some days I just don’t feel blessed because there is nothing a blessing can attach itself to.

— Teresa Klassen

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