Richer or Poorer?
Shari Braendel

"One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth." Proverbs 13:7 (NIV)

I watched Maria as she put her arm around her young son and drew him to her side. He responded by leaning in. They were a family of little means and just walking around her house would make even the most hardened heart cry. The shack had a roof made of sharp tin with tree branches mingled in between the layers. It certainly could not keep the elements out and as I peered up and saw light peeking in I wondered how they kept dry when it rained.

The floors were made of cement in some places, dirt in others. Bricks surrounded the little house and as Eric proudly showed me the bedroom that he shared with his mother and two brothers, I smiled. I was then led into the meager kitchen that was stocked with some old pans, a bag of potatoes, some carrots and a sink that refused to release water from its spout.

There was not a bathroom or laundry area except for the ragged line that hung outside with a few items of clothing on it. For all of this bareness, the children were genuinely joyful. As the boys hugged their mom, there was that sense of sweetness that happens between a child and his mother that no amount of money or material goods can replace. This family had each other and they had Jesus.

Ecuador is extremely impoverished in regards to material blessings. I've decided, however, that many in the U.S., though they have an abundance of possessions, are much poorer in other aspects. Families in Ecuador don't seem to know they are poor. Ironically, so many people living around me don't know they're poor either – spiritually in need.

I arrived home from Ecuador with a new vision of blessing. You see, the families I encountered in the homes I visited may not be blessed with material things but they consider it a privilege and gift to know Jesus. When people place highest value in Jesus, not possessions, they gain a life of hope. Hope without end. I can collect everything money can buy, but if I have no hope, I have nothing of value.

Dear God, thank You for the richness and fullness that I have in my life because You sent Your Son. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of wanting more things that will never fulfill me the way You do. I know that it is only through Christ that I can be truly wealthy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Sponsor a child from Ecuador thru Compassion International

Too Small to Ignore by Dr. Wess Stafford

Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock

Visit Shari’s blog to hear more about her trip to Ecuador

Application Steps:
Pray Romans 15:13 for the nations: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

Are you feeling hopeless today? Proverbs 11:25 says "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (NIV). Refresh someone today with the hope of Jesus—you will in turn be refreshed with His hope.

My visit with Maria and Eric in Ecuador was through the child sponsorship program of Compassion International. No matter who we are or where we are, we can bring Jesus' hope to the nations through the simple act of sponsoring a child. Compassion International makes certain each sponsored child hears about Jesus and is given the chance to accept true hope. Check out Compassion International today to learn more.

What in my home is excess?

Who can I give it to that needs it more than I?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (NIV)

2 Corinthians 6:10, "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." (NIV)

© 2010 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I love this post! Prov. 13:7 is so applicable to our lives in every way. Sometimes, the flashiest, most seemingly wealthy people are the most in debt while the nice guy/gal next door is a millionaire. Studies prove over and over again that the majority of the nation's millionaires live very ordinary, frugal lives.

Likewise, Prov. 13:7 applies spiritually. Sometimes even church leaders, who seem abundant in fervor for the Lord, are the most spiritually dry. It's just as important to pray for our brethren leaders as well as for those who don't know the Lord yet.

Thank you so much for this devotional! It's provided some great reflection for me to start my day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you God for taking care of my needs. I know i'm not rich compared to the worlds standards but in so many other ways i am rich. Thank you for sending your son to wash my sins away. Continue to lead and guide me as I begin a new chapter in my life. In Jesus Name..

Blogger ThreeGirlyGirls said...

Good thoughts Shari! I never thought about looking at people around me as being spiritually poor...when you put it that way it really makes you think! Loved this! :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with. I feel that I am rich beyond compare. What a mighty God we serve!!!

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