|The promise that Jesus makes to those who will come before the Father in poverty of spirit is fairly astonishing. He says “the Kingdom of Heaven will be yours.” In other words, those who embrace these character qualities will become participants in the life God intended for them here on earth now, and in the fullness of the Kingdom of God in the age to come. This is the life Jesus lived, a life fully established in a relationship of intimate friendship with God. It’s a life filled with His attitudes and expressed in His character. It’s a life characterized by the power and authority that Jesus had.
Let me share a story that illustrates the point. I have a friend who is a businessman in Madison, Wisconsin. Dave owns and operates two fitness centers in that city, and has been enormously successful over the past couple of decades. The key is that he began to cultivate with God a relationship of intimate submission and therefore intimate authority years ago before the business became what it is now.
Dave was a fledgling businessman in his middle twenties when the opportunity came to purchase the fitness center that became the Princeton Club. He put together an investment group, raised the necessary capital (somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million), and felt as though the Lord was going to bless this venture. On the morning that the deal was set to close escrow, the Holy Spirit spoke to Dave in the quietness of his heart and asked him to lay the deal down, to not do it.
Dave was devastated. He knew it was the voice of the Lord, yet he had business partners to think of, and his own reputation as a credible businessman was on the line. He could have pressed past these very subjective feelings in his heart, and rationalized the purchase of the club. He had the backing of reputable partners, and the confidence of the men from whom he was buying the business. However, deep in his heart, Dave realized that to move forward with the purchase would be to trust his own judgment and value his own reputation more than the voice of God. He would move out of the place of intimacy and confidence in the Lord’s leading. He would save face in the short term, but lose that wonderful sense of partnership with God in his business ventures.
Dave went to the closing that day, and shut the deal down. It was painful and humiliating, and he bore the price of that decision over the next couple of years. No one really understood why he had done what he did, and as you can imagine, his mind was bombarded with thoughts of being ridiculous and hyper-spiritual.
A couple of years later, however, the Lord vindicated Dave’s willingness to live as one who is poor in spirit, who knows how much they need God. The men from whom Dave was going to buy the center called and asked to see him. When he walked into their offices, they declared their inability to find a suitable buyer, and their unwillingness to have anyone but him own the club. They then proceeded to give the fitness center to Dave – property, membership, machinery – everything! In one moment God vindicated the trust of His friend Dave, and since that time has given favor to Dave in the marketplace of Madison. In 2004 he opened the second center, a $15 million structure that is a wonder to behold. Within a year of opening, the membership at the clubs doubled, and a strong profit margin was realized.
When God’s people dare to live a life of total dependence upon Him, the reward they get is God Himself, and the full authority of His Kingdom. It’s worth the risk!