Spiritual Practice

Poverty of Soul

Nathan Perry, 19

During a recent discussion about world poverty, I commented, “I can’t believe that some people have so little when I have so much.” This prompted the man next to me to tell a story:

“Growing up in Columbia, South America, I used to help another family work on their farm. By American standards, they were very poor. they didn’t even have electricity or plumbing—but they had something more. Every morning they would go out to work in the fields. When they came home at night, they had no television or radio for entertainment—only a front porch and the stars to gaze upon. The nights I spent with them starting at the vast expanse of stars. I felt more peace than I have ever felt in my life. They had nothing but at the same time, they had everything!”

Jesus told them, “I have food that you don’t know anything about.”
John 4:32 (CEV)

This man’s story changed my view of world poverty. Don’t get me wrong. We need to provide for those who are hungry or who lack the basic necessities of life. We need to show the poor God’s love. Yet, I have come to realize that joy and peace cannot be found in material possessions. Instead they come from having a deep relationship with God. The more we learn to depend on God for what we need, the more able we will be to love this world as Jesus loved it.


JOURNAL: Jesus said, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NRSV). How do God’s words provide nourishment for you?

—from devozine (November/December 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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