"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3
Two thieves hung on crosses next to Jesus. They are both simply referred to as "criminals." Though they shared a similar present and near future, they responded very differently to Jesus. One criminal reflects those who are "rich in spirit." He joined the crowds in mocking Jesus. "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!" (Luke 23:39) To the end, this man refused to be humble before God and honest with himself. The second criminal rebuked the first. With an Honest spirit, he acknowledged that Jesus was innocent, and they were both receiving the punishment they deserved. With a Humble spirit, he acknowledged that Jesus was Lord. Jesus' response to this second man is revealing. "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). As you reflect on this story, I ask you - which criminal are you? Do you approach each day with an Honest spirit that acknowledges that God is God and I am not? Do you live with a Humble spirit that seeks to honor God with your life? Prayer: Dear God, I confess that I have a hard and stubborn heart against you. I come to you only in my times of need or convenience. I do not love you (nor my neighbor) with all my heart. Forgive me. Free me. Make me an instrument of your loving kindness and mercy. In Jesus' name. Amen.