Yesterday we read on of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, today we read another. Today, we read in Revelation 2: 8-11 the letter to the church in Smyrna. Listen to what it says:
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
A couple of things that jump out to me about this letter, and many of the letters in this first part of Revelation. First, notice this part at the beginning – “I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are rich).”
What does it mean to poor and what does it mean to be rich? We think of wealth in terms of possessions. To be rich means to have much, to be poor means to have little. Here, we see John say – you are poor. But you are really rich.
Because you have Jesus. If you have Him, and you are poor (in the world’s eyes) then you are really rich. If you don’t have him and are rich (in the world’s eyes) then you are poor.
Our worth, our wealth, it never comes from material possessions. It comes from Jesus. I have always liked the quote by Patrick Meagher – “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”
Today the people are reminded. Yes, you are poor. But you are rich, because you have Jesus. That’s a great reminder for us today. If we have Jesus, we really have all we need.
And the second thing that jumped out to me is when he says, you are going to be tested. Don’t give up, don’t quit.
Sometimes we can think that if we face opposition or troubles, then it’s not what we should do. We are reminded here – no. When are being faithful. When we are doing right. When we are trying, we will face opposition. It will happen.
Don’t give up when the times are tough. God is good. God is there. Don’t quit. He won’t leave you, no matter what.
In all of this, if we have Jesus, it’s going to be ok.
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