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Are You Poor or Po?

September 17, 2013


You have probably heard people say, “When I was growing up we weren’t poor…we were po!”  By the way, these are also the same people who had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to school.

But the difference between poor and “po” is actually a biblical concept.  In the Bible two different words are used for poverty.  John Macarthur writes that one greek word for poor, “demands diligent daily labor to earn a living. That’s somebody who doesn’t have a stockpile, doesn’t have a savings account, has to work every day just to eat every day.”   This is poor.

The other word for poor is a poverty , continues Macarthur, “that means to cower and cringe like a beggar. It has the idea of shrinking from something or someone. It carries the classic idea of begging out of shame. Classic Greek describes this (poverty) as one who is reduced to beggary, who crouches, unwilling to lift his eyes, pleading alms and moving about in wretched conditions, says one lexicon. It’s a beggar, somebody with no wealth, no influence, no position, no honor, no respect, in some cases possessing nothing but the ragged clothes they wear, a real beggar here.”  This is PO!

When Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, He says, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Guess which word Jesus uses for poor here?  That’s right, PO!  So Jesus is essentially saying is “Blessed are those who realize the depth of their spiritual poverty and bankruptcy and know that they can bring no good thing to God, but instead, they must ask for mercy from Him.”  A person who is poor in spirit, in the way that Jesus is talking about, realizes that they are destitute, and look fully to God for salvation.  And they trust that God has been merciful to them by sending Jesus into the world to live a life that never rebelled against God, and then willingly took on the sins of the world, died as a righteous sacrifice, and then rose from the grave, proving that God was satisfied with the sacrifice and now sits enthroned over the earth as King.  They realize that Jesus is King.

At Garrett, we are currently studying the Beattitudes in Matthew 5 and applying them in the home.  So what does it mean to be po in spirit in the home?  It means that you realize that Jesus is to be the King of your castle.  It means that Jesus is your first choice and not your last resort.  It means that when you mess up as a dad, mom, husband, wife, or kid, you run to Jesus for restoration, because in His kingdom there is forgiveness and mercy.  To be po in spirit in the home means a lot of things, especially that you know whom to run to receive life, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and direction.  It means that you are utterly dependent upon Christ.  So, are you poor or po?

If you are near or in the Hope, AR. area, we would love to have you join us at Garrett Memorial Baptist Church at 10:45 am on Sundays, next to Walmart as we continue our study.

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