It was time to leave Boise and venture into the wilderness. We saw a dear aunt and uncle in the morning, packed up, and researched our options for the next few days. After a couple hours planning excitedly, we got on the road and headed into the mountains of Idaho: a new place for me and a favorite place of Ryan’s.
The drive was so fun. I had never seen anything like those mountains, and my excitement would build every time I saw a “Watch for Wildlife” sign. (Oh yes, I discovered on this trip my delight at seeing animals in the wild–grizzlies, mountain goats, big horn sheep. Bring it on.)
The trail leading up to Ryan’s favorite lake was pretty smoky, so we drove into the town of Stanley Idaho, population 63.
We talked to some helpful people and drove out to a different lake where we camped that night. Though we got a later start on our hiking, we felt pretty blessed to have a couple days in the forest by ourselves, and the view from our campsite was not too shabby.
One day Jesus went up a hill with his disciples and taught them. As it is written:
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι,
ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Or, in English:
The Spiritually Bankrupt are blessed,
because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Let me tell you a story inspired by a story Jesus told (Luke, chapter 18).
One day two very different men happened to be praying side by side at an important spiritual place. One man was a religious expert, an authority on the Scriptures. The other was a business man who cheated people, embezzled funds and was a traitor against his people.
The Religious Man stands and prays, “God I thank you that I am not like other men: blackmailers, unjust people, people who have sex outside of marriage, or this bad business man next to me. I fast twice a week and I offer ten percent of what I get to you.”
The Business Man didn’t even look up. “God, be merciful to me, a man who has wronged you.”
Then Jesus says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who realize they could never be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness and favor–the Spiritually Bankrupt.
We are all Spiritually Bankrupt. The thing is, only some people ask for mercy.
We’d like to thank our friend Matthew for teaching what inspired this reflection .