Usually I don’t make dinner unless I’m excited about it. The easiest way to get excited about dinner is to try a new recipe. Like this one. It is fantastic. But first, I told you I was going to talk to you about Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. And that’s why it’s taken me so long to post. Because that’s a lot of pressure: it’s a long, dense book that is filled with wisdom and insight, which is unsurprising, given its topic. So maybe you should consider reading it yourself. I couldn’t even post my favorite quotes because I have literally more than twenty.
The Church of the Nazarene has this program for children called “Quizzing.” It’s where children study certain books of the Bible and are literally and competitively quizzed. They are asked multiple choice questions, and then select wooden plates representing the answers of 1, 2, 3, or 4 from a box in front of them. I think the standard for competitions is two rounds of 20 questions each. As a bonus or tiebreaker, if I remember correctly, quizzers are asked to recite a memory verse.
Quizzing is why I memorized the beatitudes. After a while, though, I started to get them a little confused. Which one has the kingdom of heaven and which one sees God and which one is the son of God? And memorizing the scripture did not give me insight about what the words I was saying meant.
My childish mind thought that “the poor in spirit” was a distinct and separate group from “those who mourn.” “Poor in spirit” was an especially difficult concept for me to grasp. In fact, I think I gave up trying to understand it. After giving many examples of godly men who are poor in spirit in the Old and New Testaments, Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains being poor in spirit as “a complete absence of pride, a complete absence of self-assurance and of self-reliance. It means a consciousness that we are in the presence of God. It is nothing, then, that we can produce; it is nothing we can do in ourselves. It is just this tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face-to-face with God….It means this, that if we are truly Christian we shall not rely upon our natural birth. We shall not rely on the fact that we belong to certain families; we shall not boast that we belong to certain nations or nationalities. We shall not build on our natural temperament. We shall not believe in and rely upon our natural position in life, or any powers that may have been given to us. We shall not rely upon money or any wealth we have received, or the particular school or college to which we may have been. No, all that is what Paul came to regard as ‘dung,’ and a hindrance to this greater thing because it tended to master and control him” (40-1).
I quoted this at length because I am guilty of everything being poor in spirit isn’t. I do tend to be proud and self-reliant; I forget that I’m in the presence of God. I relish that my family is a praying Christian family, that I am an American, that I am a reader, an intellectual, a middle-class stay-at-home mom, and a University of Michigan alumnus. I am bad at being poor in spirit. But that’s the point. Being poor in spirit (and the rest of the beatitudes as well), is not a natural inclination, as Lloyd-Jones is quick to point out.
“The way to become poor in spirit is to look at God. Read this book about Him, read His law, look at what He expects from us, contemplate standing before Him…The more we look at Him, the more hopeless we shall feel by ourselves, in and of ourselves, and the more we shall become ‘poor in spirit'”(42).
Basically when I told you that I would give you my thoughts on The Studies on the Sermon on the Mount, my plan must have been to just quote the whole book to you. It did profoundly impact me. I realized that I am self-centered and ever-lacking in the things demanded of me by the law. I need Jesus more than I ever knew. May that knowledge never fade.
1 Pound of Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
1/3 Cup of Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons of Sriracha Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Divided
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Saute the shrimp until just turning pink (don’t cook through).
Remove the shrimp to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and salt to the same pan and bring it to a low simmer.
Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until all the butter is incorporated.
Dump in the partially cooked shrimp and continue simmering until the shrimp are reheated and cooked through (but don’t overcook: overcooked shrimp are rubbery).
Serve. I served mine over rice.
Recipe adapted from Wish Upon a Dish.