The Blessing of Being Broke

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .

You can’t be rich until you’re been bankrupt. You can’t be wealthy until you’re worthless. You can’t have God’s best until you’ve faced your worst.

Bankruptcy is a sinister word. Job lost. Career crashed. Identity crushed. Prospects dim. Future bleak. Hope gone. Home about to go. Family tattered. To be broke is to be shattered, ashamed, devastated.

Spiritual bankruptcy starts with the same feelings of failure, frustration and hopelessness, the same struggle. the same shame. We ask questions like, “How could I have done that?” or, “When will I be free?” We feel shackled and unable to break the destructive patterns that bring unbearable pain to ourselves and others. We see no way out and wonder how we ended up at such a terrible place. “This wasn’t supposed to happen to me,” we say to ourselves, but it is, and we can’t deny it.

Yet if we work our way through spiritual bankruptcy, we make an amazing discovery: death morphs into life once we confess our total inability to control life…

Spiritual bankruptcy is humbling, even humiliating, but as we go through it we learn that our poverty leads to great riches, the greatest riches possible, the riches of God’s life through Christ in us.

One of the things we learn through spiritual bankruptcy is that God makes withdrawals from our poverty so He can make deposits of His riches in us. The problem is we can’t have the joy of God’s deposits until we feel the pain of our poverty.  Until then we think we can find our own riches, that we can make it on our own.

This thinking robs us of the blessing of being broke, the blessing of the kingdom of heaven, so we don’t experience the power and excitement of God’s rule on earth. God wants to express His rule through us, to bring His love into our lives so we can give it to others.

Don’t you see how empty it is to live in the poverty of your power? Don’t you see how futile it is to live in the in the darkness of your light? You can live in the denial of your poverty, but don’t try to cash any checks drawn on your account. Life charges a very high fee for an overdrawn account. Bounced checks mean a bounced life.

Spiritual bankruptcy leads us into brokenness, brokenness brings us into wholeness, and wholeness comes through the wealth of God’s resources. You can’t force spiritual bankruptcy, but you can fight it. It’s better if you don’t fight it. Just cash in on it and find the blessing of being broke.


The Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.

From "The Blessing of Being Broke " on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.