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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Thursday, June 17

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

There's something that happens within us when we step outside ourselves and give preference to those who have less than we do. The tightness that has surrounded the inner rim of our lives begins to relax, and the struggles that have been saturating our thoughts and feelings seem to stretch out; our perspective seems to change. 

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.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2003.