Running On Empty?


Photo Credit: NathanaelBC via Compfight cc

Feel like you have tried everything and nothing seems to work?  Feel like you have given life your best shot only to receive nothing back from your investment?  Do you feel like you are all tapped out and running on empty with nothing to give to anyone or anything?  O, happy man!  You may actually be in the best place you can possibly be!

A Long Time Ago on a Mountainside Far Away…

1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:1 – 3

If you feel like you are all tapped out and running on empty, Jesus Christ has a message of hope for you.  But first, we need to answer a question.

What Does He Mean “Blessed?”

What is Jesus saying when He says the poor in spirit are blessed?  That’s a fair question.  Normally, when we think of someone who is blessed, we think of someone who has experienced a positive release of God’s resources.  God has acted on their behalf in a favorable way.  That is not what is being referred to here, however.

The closest word in the English language that properly expresses what Jesus is talking about is our word lucky.  We say someone is lucky when they have had all the circumstances line of up just right and everything is going good for them.  A good illustration is someone who has won the lottery.  In much the same way, the word Jesus uses here refers to someone who is in the best place they can possibly be; someone who is positioned in just the right place.  According to Jesus, the poor in spirit are in such a place.

Spiritually Bankrupt

What does Jesus mean when He refers to those who are poor in spirit?  The word poor refers to someone who is completely destitute.  It pictures someone who is completely helpless and has been reduced to a beggar that is completely dependent on the mercy of others.  In spirit indicates that this does not refer to the materially poor.  Jesus is talking about a spiritual state of complete bankruptcy.  He is talking about someone who knows there is nothing that they can do for themselves.  They are completely dependent on the Lord.

An Illustration

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:1 – 4

When illustrating who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus didn’t point to the rich and famous.  He also did not point to the religious elite.  Instead, He pointed to a small child.  Was He kidding?

Many of you know that I recently became a Grandpa.  At the time of this post, my Grandson is just over a month old.  That little guy is the absolute delight of Papa’s heart.  But, to be honest, he’s also quite a bit of work.  There is virtually nothing he can do on his own.

  • He can’t feed himself.
  • He can’t put his clothes on.
  • He can’t bathe himself.
  • He can’t move from one place to another by himself.
  • He can’t change himself when he is wet or dirty.

In other words he is completely dependent on others for absolutely everything.  There is nothing that he can do to help himself out (except cry.  He’s got that down pretty good).

A helpless child perfectly illustrates someone who is spiritually bankrupt.  A spiritually bankrupt person knows they have nothing going for them.  They have no spiritual resources on which they can rely.  In humility they recognize that they have to look to the King in every situation every single time or they are utterly lost.

Why They Are Blessed

A spiritually bankrupt person is in the best place possible because they are positioned to experience the fullness of God’s Kingdom.  God will not try and govern the life of anyone who thinks they can run it by themselves.  He will let them run on their own steam until they are tapped out and exhausted.  Then, when they cry out to Him in their brokenness, He will happily take over as Director of Corporate Affairs and begin to sort things out and start putting their broken lives back together.  There is no blessing greater.


If you feel like you are running on empty…

If you feel like you can hardly put one foot in front of another…

If you feel like you don’t know what to do next…

Rejoice!  You are in a great place to begin experiencing God’s saving goodness.  There is no better place on earth to be than under God’s government.  I call it living in the Reign.


Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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