5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
When I read these passages, it brings me to what Paul writes multiple times in the book of Romans about finding the “glory in our sufferings” (Romans 5:8, 8:17,18) For some, afflictions are what may cause us to look “poor” in the eyes of the world. For others, it may be your economic situation that may cause people to look poorly upon you. But I want to encourage you today that the Lord does not see wealth or richness in the same lens as mankind does. Everything that you stand upon the Lord that the world hates or slanders you for, it is those exact things that make you rich in the eyes of the Lord. Glory in the suffering. For it is the suffering that refines your faith; the suffering that reveals His glory more; the suffering that draws you into the real riches of life (salvation and the development of a true Christ character).
One of the great mysteries of God is that in suffering we are able to see His riches so much more clearly. It transforms us and gives us His perspective. Oddly, we will even be thankful for the suffering, pain and poorness one day. So much so that even our present sufferings will turn into a future glory of “entering His courts with thanksgiving”.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Look around and pray. It’s easy to forget to pay attention when making the same journey every day. Use your travel time to look around and pray for what you see. Pray for the buildings you pass; the people you see, your fellow travelers. Invite God’s presence to show you your commute through His eyes.