The Beatitudes are the words of Jesus pronouncing God’s blessing on the most challenging things we face. The word he used for ‘blessed’ is the Greek word makarios conveying the meaning of self-contained happiness or bliss.
The Greeks called the Island of Cyprus "the happy isle." They believed that because of its geographical location, perfect climate, and fertile soil that anyone who lived on Cyprus had it made in the shade. And the term they associated with the island was makarios. They believed everything you needed to be happy was right there on Cyprus.
To experience the blessed life that Jesus gives, we are not dependent on finding the perfect island resort life. And yet, there are many Jesus’ followers who still seek and settle for a pseudo-blessed life instead of entering into the tough life that produces lasting joy.
Jesus encountered a successful young man whom was looking for ways to improve his religious life. He wanted everything that he heard Jesus offering and had all the right behaviours expected of a fervent Jewish man. Jesus asked him if he was doing all that the Law required. He actually was. But Jesus could see that all of his appearance of being successful and rich was masking an unconquered heart.
The pseudo-blessed life is the dying American Dream (and somewhat Canadian for that matter). Be a good citizen, make something of yourself in the world and salute the Cross of Christ, or at least the god of your own understanding. But, that is not real. All of these good things are valuable, but do not add up to the real treasure found in God’s Kingdom.
The follower of Jesus does not salute the Cross; instead they bow before it. They recognize the price that was paid to buy us back. The disciple of Jesus is not flattered or enticed by temporary success and wealth. We see the vanity and fading glory and will sell it all if it can be replaced with the Eternal.
This may be too much for some to accept. Jesus’ disciples were taken aback by the suggestion that the rich, young ruler should let go of his success to follow Jesus.
Where is your treasure? Have you traded up for something lasting?