How Do We Be “Poor in Spirit”
The moment our missionary team stepped off the bus putrid smell wove itself into my senses. As a sixteen-year-old girl from a small Appalachian town, this Peruvian landscape was unlike anything I had ever seen. The dirt under our feet stirred up dust and I sneezed. Looking around I marveled at the paradox. Children in school uniforms were walking home to houses made of cardboard and mud.
We made our way through the trash to visit some families, handing out candy to the dirty fingers begging for substance. Filth. Lack. Emptiness. In all my life I’ve never seen such poverty. Until I came back home, grew up, and achieved the American dream did I see such poverty again. Only this time it was in my soul.
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit.” Another paradox was spoken by Christ on a mountain two thousand years ago. Blessed are the poor? The poverty of the Spirit isn’t something I necessarily sought, but it found me. When my arms were full of babies, my house full of furniture, and my life filled with friends, I felt the poverty again. The sin had revealed my true nature – one of extreme poverty. Anxiously, I sought for answers. And there it was. In the pages of Luke, the physician who pointed others to the Great Physician. In Luke 21:3-4 Jesus says of a women who looked a lot like me:
“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put I more than all; for all these out of the abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood she had.”
How do I fill the empty poverty and aching loneliness in my heart? I pour it out. I give it to God and say:
“Here is my love, O God, it is not worth much but here it is. Here is my life, not very signifiant, but I will do what I can for You. O God, here are my children, do with them what you see fit. I give you my time, my devotion, and my allegiance. In the middle of my anxiety, worry, or doubt, I just empty it all to you.”
The paradox again? He fills me. Quiet moments spent with God in prayer are never a waste. Reading through large passages of Scripture and struggling to understand will only fill me. Working hard at memorizing the words, when my mind is tired, is what cures the poverty.
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for their’s is the Kingdom of God.” A kingdom is waiting for us. Right now. In our hearts God can sit on the throne and give us all we need. He has it all. He is all we need. I may feel as if I have nothing to offer. That’s ok. Creation reminds us He is in the business of making something out of nothing.
The paradox of poverty is that God uses our own emptiness to fill us with Himself. Let me cling to the God who fills me again and again. For in Him I find all I need. So……How Do We Be “Poor in Spirit”?
If you want to read a book about being filled with God’s manna – daily provision – then you will want to read Meredith’s book,”In Want and Plenty.” *
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