Thursday, August 31, 2006


This morning I had the privilege of addressing a group of people receiving food baskets through the ministry of the church here. I find these kind of moments a mixture of joy and discomfort. I continue to find deep poverty to be one of the most challenging issues this particular American faces while living in a country like Brazil. Speaking to this group of deeply poor people really made me deal with the apparent differences between their life and mine. That is not comfortable but it is good.

I asked the Lord to give me a message for them of faith, hope and love. He did. Here is the essence of what He gave me.
I wish you could have been standing their with me looking into their faces and seeing their reality. You, too, might have felt joy and discomfort.

God led me to tell them....

1. Appearances can fool us. When we look at society it seems that only some (like the poor) need to receive in order to live.
That is how things appear, but the reality is all of us live each day by what we receive. We are all equally dependent before God for all we have. It is an illusion to think there are people alive today who do not need to receive what they do not have in order to live. Faith is about receiving from God. We all live by receiving or we will surely die.

2. Appearances can fool us. When we look at our lives we think only some people can be truly happy and joyful. We think people who live in certain houses and in certain neighborhoods can be happy today. That is how things appear, but the reality is that no one lives anywhere but within their own inner life. I don't live in Brazil. I live within the boundaries of my own soul. This is true of all the people in the world. With Jesus in my soul I can be happy anywhere.

3. Appearances can fool us. When we look at the day that is stretching out before us we may think we have nothing to give anyone. We think that our life has nothing to give unless we appear to have something to give. No, we all have something to give. What we have to give may be as simple as a smile or as profound as forgiveness. We may have no house or no transportation, but there are things God is giving us that we can give. We all must be giving because that is what love does.

At the end of my words, the group of about 75 applauded. I think they were being polite but they gave me something very special. They accepted me and they accepted the words God gave me. They gave me their attention. How small our food baskets seemed to me when compared to what they gave me out of their poverty!

Truly we all live by receiving. Truly we all can rejoice right where we live-in our souls. Truly we can all release something today to someone who really needs it-even in our poverty.

Don't let appearances fool you. People are the same all over the world. Receive--Rejoice---Release!

1 comment:

Ken McCord said...

Maybe our definitions of wealth and poverty are not correct? Who is really well off? What if spiritual poverty is rooted in material wealth? Not wealth as bad but when wealth is abided in, well poverty is born.