Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, July 14

Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
—Psalm 41:1

Something happens within us when we step outside ourselves and give
preference to those who have less than we do. Our perspective seems to
change. There's a relaxing of the tightness at the inner rim of our lives, and a letting loose of the struggles that saturate our thoughts and feelings.

It's not so much that we have become less self-conscious, or that we are proud of our benevolent spirit, or that we've finally realized that other people are worse off than we are. Actually, it has nothing to do with us at all. It is the poor themselves who are responsible for the balancing of our lives. 

In the un-self-consciousness of the poor we find our own distortions. In their humility we find the faultiness of our own self-importance. In their lack of dignity, we find the reality of our own privilege. In their generosity, we find the seams of our own stinginess. In their incomprehensible joy, we find the limits of our own contrived happiness.

When we are in the presence of the poor, we are delivered from the day of our own trouble and we find ourselves strangely at peace.

O God, draw back the drape that keeps me from seeing the richness of my life as its own poverty. Let me learn from the poor what it is to be truly rich.

The Signposts for July are written by Renée Miller and originally appeared on in 2004.