The Power of Poverty

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Perhaps this has happened to you. You sign up to do something and then the day comes and you don’t feel like doing it. Actually, it’s more than a feeling. You’re not prepared…emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually – especially spiritually. That’s what happened to me last week. A friend had asked me a few weeks ago to come to a women’s gathering she was having to say a few words and sell a few books. I readily agreed, especially to the selling a few books part. And, I thought that by the time the event came around, I would have sat in prayer long enough to hear something that God would have me say.

But the morning of the event came and I had nothing. Not one cute, clever or creative idea had entered my mind.  A couple of hours before the event, I wrote on my phone’s note pad a story I had heard two years ago that I thought might be a possibility, but as I pondered it some more, it started to sound stale…worse yet, it was about Christmas. Who tells a Christmas story on Valentine’s Day weekend?

 Nevertheless, I pressed my way to the gathering, secretly hoping that no one would come. To my disappointment, approximately 40 women showed up and soon they would discover that the speaker had nothing to say. So, what do you do when you have nothing to say? Well, you tell a story about having nothing to say. I remembered and shared about the time I asked a spiritual director friend of mine what to do when you’ve made an appointment to see someone for spiritual direction and the day comes and you’re not spiritually prepared to point that person to the Spirit who provides direction? Her wise reply was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The quizzical look on my face made her continue. “When we are poor, when we are empty, when we have nothing, we have the kind of space needed for heaven to fill us with its resources.”

 After admitting my poverty and telling my Christmas story to the women gathered, I played an instrumental version of “Here I am to Worship,” and what happened next was nothing short of a manifestation of heaven’s resources. By the time the song was over, about a third of the women were crying. We started sharing long-held pain, words of encouragement, and testimonies of God’s grace. It was one of the most healing events I have ever been blessed to experience and witness. Bonds of love were made between women who entered the room as strangers, but left as BFFs.

 What a bountiful grace spiritual poverty can be. It frees us from the need to perform, to appear all-together, to seem all-knowing, when the truth of the matter is we are desperately in need of heaven’s resources. May we, like Christ, empty ourselves of ourselves. May we become so poor that we finally and humbly receive the riches we have in Christ and the healing love He provides through others.

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