Daily Archives: May 2, 2014

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Broken Jars of Clay

by Susan Irene Fox

© Susan Irene Fox

© Susan Irene Fox

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Matthew 5:3

If you have trouble with going to people who are considered unblessable and pronouncing their blessing in the kingdom, then you haven’t gotten the message yet, because the message of the kingdom is that all those who human beings regard as unblessable are not unblessable if they enter the kingdom. Dallas Willard

We are broken jars of clay. It is only when we awaken to this realization we become poor in spirit. When we finally cry out for help, we open ourselves to healing. This has nothing to do with weakness as the world sees weakness. It has everything to do with humility. About seeing the reality of who we are. About seeing the unlimited power of the One who created us.

In first century honor and shame culture, people did favors for one another because they knew the one to whom a favor was given now owed a favor in return. Those who were poor were not given favors because they had no means by which to return a favor.

Those who were poor in spirit, knew they had nothing to give. They knew they were broken. They knew they were sinners. They knew they had a void they could not fill.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

Because the Lord has anointed me

To bring good news to the poor

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1)

I was one of those poor. I had a void in me for decades. I sought to fill it with work, clothes, self-help cults, and men. Looking back from here I’ve discovered a pattern – a road that many of us travel and the dark place we find ourselves.

dark back street by Petr Kratochvil

dark back street by Petr Kratochvil

We numb ourselves or simply become inattentive. We wander far off course. We feel the void. We panic, and seek to fill it with non-essential things that give us a temporary sensation of fullness that dissipates in time. Those things are not the true essence of sufficiency for our minds, hearts, and souls.

Like sheep, we have wandered off the path one blade of grass at a time. If we have the courage and humility to be honest with ourselves, we get a glimpse of understanding that in our humanness, we have gone so far off the path of where we thought we would be, that we cannot come back by our own will, our own strength, our own perseverance.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Until I allowed my life to be changed by Christ, I continued to worship other things. (Everyone worships something. It’s easy to determine the object of our worship by how we spend our time, thoughts, energy and money. ) It wasn’t until I was filled by His unconditional love, grace and mercy that I began to understand the poverty in which I lived. It was when I accepted His gift I was humbled at my own unworthiness to receive it.

Adeline Oh, on Our Dot On The Map, says it like this:

I do not have it all together. I have some sharp and broken pieces jutting out here and there. But thankfully, He holds me together and smooths out the sharp edges.

Once I know I am poor in spirit, I can begin the grieving process. I can begin to let go of my former habits of thinking, speaking and doing that, frankly, didn’t work so well. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m still working on letting go of some of the old remains. It’s a lifetime journey, and I continue to ask myself, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” as I fall into old, arrogant, independent ways.

Still, each time I step off the narrow path, I turn around and rush back to Him as quickly as I can because He forgives and accepts me back with no condemnation (Romans 8:1).

My God reminds me every day that even though I am broken, I am beautiful. I am His masterpiece. He is the glue that holds these broken shards together, and He is not finished with me yet.

Next Week: How He comforts the mourning through the grieving process