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August 4 – Poverty and riches

“…but you are rich.” – Revelation 2:9 

Scripture reading: Revelation 2:8-22; 2 Corinthians 8:9

The church of Smyrna struggled to make its yearly budget. The pastor worked for peanuts and the people had little more. Church potlucks were well attended and joyful occasions, but not because of an abundance of food. The church lived for Christ, but because of this they learned what it was to suffer and go without.

Of the seven churches Jesus writes to in Revelation only two are not rebuked. The first of those two is Smyrna. Living in physical poverty, spiritually they were millionaires. More hardship would come; Jesus reveals they would face prison and even death for His cause.

This letter (like them all) is for us. There are times in these last days when to follow Christ will mean letting go of all this world has to offer, both financially and physically. Even today, following Christ can mean being willing to suffer for Him. It may be ridicule at school or work, losing a family business, or simply less earthly comfort as we support kingdom causes. It often means a life we did not anticipate. But Christ is worth it. There is greater glory ahead than what lays behind. Faithfulness unto death gains the crown of life.

We are all called to count the cost of following Jesus. Let us join Smyrna, embrace the cross, and be truly rich.

Suggestions for prayer

Lord help me to follow You whatever the cost, and teach me the joy of gaining Christ.

Pastor Greg Bylsma is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary, and he is currently serving at the Living Water Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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