Bible Reading: The “When” (Timing and Tenses)

List 1
Poverty.
Hunger.
Weeping.
Being hated.
Insults.

List 2
Financial abundance.
Comfort.
Being well-fed.
Laughter.
Being held in high regard.

Would I prefer List 1 or List 2? Which do I think is better?

***

Backwards, counterintuitive, upside-down, ridiculous. Sometimes, when I read the Bible, these words come to mind.

I love when that happens! I love those attention-grabbing, initially confusing parts of God’s Word, for they are like ice water down my back. In those passages God takes my face in both hands and turns me to look at Him. (“Okay, Daddy, I’m looking!”)

And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say,

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
(all quotes are from Luke 6:20-26)

I raise an eyebrow. Poverty is a blessing?

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed are you when men hate you…”

What on earth?! Poverty, hunger, weeping, being hated—these are blessings?

I slow down to look again. Childhood grammar lessons kick in, and I spot words in future tense. I begin to think of the “when.”

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven

I look not at the now but at the later. These blessings are blessings because of the later. I think the Lord wants me to have a pilgrim mindset, a Kingdom perspective. Then, I will have a fuller realization of how blessed I truly am.

I see with dim vision, as through translucent instead of transparent glass. I still do not have a mental grasp of why I am blessed, I who hunger and weep. The mystery remains, really. But these declarations from Jesus—”Blessed are you”—help shape my thinking, bit by bit, into right thinking. The question is not, “What on earth?” The answer is, “What in heaven!”

Father, I know this is not my Home. Give me a Kingdom perspective so that I may live the way You want me to live, and truly count myself blessed according to the mind of Christ. And help me, if not (yet) to have a complete understanding of your Word, to take in the simple truths that You have for me at this point.

***

(Originally posted September 2, 2009.)

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3 thoughts on “Bible Reading: The “When” (Timing and Tenses)

    • Well, I think the definitive conclusion in my post is…I still don’t get it :)
      except that there’s something about the later that makes for the “blessed” right now.

      Do you know, lately I’ve appreciated being in the position of…not knowing!

      From my simple approach, and putting observation before interpretation, it seems to me that they are proclamations. Virtues and proclamations—how about both?

      Grateful for the links. Dallas Willard’s teachings do shed light…

      Thanks for being here and for your nudges and words, sister.

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