In the midst of this “iWorld” of affluence, there is a great deal of worry about performance and presentation. We have adults worrying about how well they are doing, or not doing, in relation to others, as well as how well their kids are doing. The assumption is: I need to make things happen; I need to make things work. If I’m not on this, things will not go well for me. All of this “iNess” begs the question, where does God come in? When we look at Matthew 5:3, we get some specific direction: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Biblical scholars tell us that the poor in spirit are those without material possessions, who recognize their complete dependence on God.
I have a young pen pal named Laura, who lives in El Salvador. Her family lives in a rural area and struggles to obtain the basic necessities of life. Yet every time she writes to me, she never asks for anything or remarks upon the challenges that she faces each day. Instead, she has simple questions for me such as “What crops do you grow?” And “What are your family traditions?”
Every one of her letters includes her wishes for God’s blessings for me and my family. When I reflect upon Laura and her life, it occurs to me that the absence of material possessions has helped her to pay attention to what’s important: God’s presence in her life. She is not distracted by an I-phone or Facebook; she has no time or opportunity for a selfie or Twitter. She is a sweet reminder of the blessings of the poor in spirit. “The eyes of all look hopefully to you; you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:15-16). In the middle of this “selfie" world, we have powerful reminders that it’s really all about Him. As we turn toward God in our everyday lives, as we seek Him and move away from self, we can feel the power of His grace and tender mercies. As we look to Him in every aspect of our need, we find blessing.
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Katie Retzner has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2003 and provides counseling services at the Meier Clinics in Wheaton, Illinois. Prior to joining Meier Clinics, she worked for seven years in the Illinois public school system with children, adolescents and their families. Katie describes her counseling style as nurturing, strengths-based and relational. She integrates cognitive-behavioral, insight-oriented and solution-focused approaches along with humor as she works with her clients.