The Riches of our Nitty-gritty Poverty

I am thinking continually these last few days on our poverty, or our frailty, and how we must constantly live in the crucible of it. How we must not evade it, deny it or ignore it, but rather acknowledge and embrace it. The line that has played incessantly in my head this week is from an old song by Rich Mullins,

Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are.

What is so Good about Poverty?

What is so good about poverty? What is so good about seeing myself as poor? Well, to state it plain, it’s the truth. It’s the level ground that all of humanity stands upon but so few rarely claim. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” He did not somehow acknowledge a special group of really humble people and call them blessed.

Rather, He invited all of humanity to experience the blessing of living in the truth of their poorness rather than sinking in the delusion of  false strength. We are but dust (Ps. 103:14).

And if poverty is the truth than what is the deception? The deception is to live far from it, to forget about it and begin to imagine even subconsciously that somehow my lack of suffering, my lack of weakness or inability in some way proves my strength. That is not strength. That’s just the absence of a thousand possible upheavals that could swipe my legs out from under me at any given moment.

The true strength of our living is actually directly related to the degree of our embracing our poorness. For the heartbeat of real living is when we, dust that we are, reach from our nitty-gritty poverty and cleave to Christ. Now that is the beginnings of some true strength. It is here in this cleaving that His strength is perfected in my weakness and iron is worked into my soul (2 Cor. 12:9).

A Reckless Cleaving to Christ

Oh for grace then, to live in such brokenness and poorness of spirit that the heartbeat of my living is a continual, reckless cleaving to Christ. Only someone utterly convinced of their poverty can cleave to Him with such vehemence. And oh, they surely are the blessed ones. They get Him like no others do. They drink of His everlasting water and eat of His true bread like kings around a banqueting table. Yes, blessed are the poor in spirit, for as those who cleave closest to Christ, they are the wealthiest of all.

  • Beautifully said…

  • Rochelle Walker

    I absolutely love it!!!

    When you use the word cleave, it reminds me of how it says in Genesis that a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. And how Jesus left His Father to become a man for His bride and so we in turn leave the ways of this world-false strength and cleave to our bridegroom-meakness and true humility which is strength.

    This is a beautiful reality!!! Thanks for posting.

  • dana

    Exactly where my meditations have been! He who was rich and became poor is the Bridegroom whom we cleave to…that we through His poverty might become rich. We have nothing in ourselves and yet in our union with Him, we are rich (and strong in love) beyond comprehension.

  • Dana,
    I appreciate this. After having each of my kids I have had a poverty of health, so some of what you are speaking of became much more of a reality to me during those times, times when I was forced to depend on his strength and plan and not the delusion of my human strength. I remember in school when you struggled with illness and maybe that has given you also an insiders look at the frailty of humanity. It is lovely that the God we serve turns poverty into beauty and strength.

    I remember the friendship the Lord gave us growing up. It was a great gift from him as well.

    “Well, here am I Lord, holding out my withered hands
    And I’m just waiting to be touched
    Write me into Your story
    Whisper it to me
    And let me know I’m Yours”

    Rich Mullins: “Jesus”


  • dana

    So good to hear from you, Emmy! Yes, what a gift our friendship was in the Logos days. Blessings to you and your precious family.

  • Ashlei

    Love it. I love your writtings. 🙂

  • Dana,

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been contemplating this topic for a few weeks. Not so much the truth of my poverty — it is evident — but how to live it out day to day.

    How do I live in poverty, but try to “do the work?”

    I consider I might be lazy instead of leaning. Do I need to “do” something or remain poor in spirit and wait for God to open doors? I think yes, but I don’t want to be found sitting on my spiritual hands.

    All matters for prayer. Above all, I trust in His good pleasure for me.