Poverty is not so bad

Friends and church are better than...

Friends and church are better than…

We enjoyed life while sustaining much self-denial as missionaries in Guatemala. I worried about IF I would be able to get deodorant. For the kids, a new pair of shoes only once every six months. The menu was beans and rice — and when you got tired of that, you could have rice and beans. It’s really not as bad as you might imagine.

My daughter at right.

My daughter at right.

There are other things in life that are more important than nice clothes, nice food, nice car. For example, having a loving and fun family is great. Serving a cause, though not applause, is another. True friends, a vibrant church, soccer. Hey, if you have enough to eat, ain’t got no complaints.

With my in-laws, eating out -- something we never did on the mission field

With my in-laws, eating out — something we rarely did on the mission field

Of course, we didn’t suffer poverty like the Guatemalans do. But even they seem to enjoy life through it. On the other hand, a lot of rich Americans are plagued by anxiety. Will I have enough when I retire? The Guatemalan doesn’t have enough now. Anxiety is worse than poverty.

This is the richness of my life! I teach these students at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

This is the richness of my life! I teach these students at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

Don’t be afraid of following your dreams, even if it is not the course of ambition. My family has been back in the States now for two-and-a-half years now, after 16 years in Guatemala. I suppose we could still be classified as “living in poverty.” My wife drives a 99 Ford Escort; I call it our Lexus. Why not make jokes and have fun?

50 responses to “Poverty is not so bad

  1. After 31 years as an independent, self-supporting missionary in Japan, I am certainly not affluent as this world sees it. However, I am incredibly wealthy in the things that really matter! Serving God not only has the absolute best “retirement” plan, it’s no slouch in the mean time, either!

  2. It’s an area I’m really being challenged in right now and your pst is very timely. Thank you for posting- and thank you Lord for your faithfulness

  3. I gave a lucrative career to follow Christ and become a full time staff member at a church. I have never done without and I have found that God provides even when we don’t know how He will. Thanks for the great reminder.

  4. It's a matter of prayer

    What in your mind is poverty? I wonder if you have seen what a mission organization requires (how much they need to raise ) before they will send them? Let me tell you about a woman who understands “the call.” Literally, everyone pastors included discouraged from going to Uganda. One small church agreed to support her. She went six month without even an email. No cards, no prayer, nothing.

    She was led to go into a rebel held territory. One day they shot up her house for three hours while she lay prone on the floor. She personally led over six hundred to Christ in four years. She was able to establish 12 village churches during this time. She established a viable ministry in both a men’s and woman’s ministry. She turned the leadership over to local men and returned to the US. The ministry she started has grown. All this with very little support or encouragement.

    Worse than material poverty is loneliness but knowing what God wants you to do. I have seen how some missionaries want to live. They elevate themselves and distance themselves from those they a called (?) to serve.

    I can give you story after story of individuals who understand what it is all about. Going without shoes is nothing. I have experienced the selfishness of the so called missionary and minister. I also have eaten the last food of a “native” family because they understood about giving.

    • Dear “It’s a Matter of Prayer,” Thank you for your comment. It is a great encouragement! You are a brave soul, and you inspire me. Thank you for doing so! Yours, Mike

      • It's a matter of prayer

        One thing really, really bothers me is the fact that over thirty thousand people die every day from malnutrition and preventable diseases. THIS IS MORALY WRONG. All of us who can read these words will have a lot to account for. I correspond with a Dutch doctor who works in rural Haiti. She has ten to twelve babies die a week from malnutrition. When the food crops are destroyed they will eat dirt just to have something in their stomachs. If you have ever witnessed a starving child you simply can not be hardened. We may pray for their souls but we also must give them food. There is an organization title that says it so well. Pass the food.

        • Once you have seen it… you can’t stomach the stuff that goes on here in America and is considered normal… restaurants throw out food… kids complain that they don’t like the dinner mom prepared… it can be sickening.

          • It's a matter of prayer

            God has blessed us by letting us know our prayers are being heard. We support various individuals in prayer all over the world. One lady who has lived in Africa about twelve years wrote today telling how excited the local church was. Out of their poverty they are building churches brick by brick. Out of their weakness God is blessing them.

            • Wow! Could you write the story about the lady again, lying on the floor while they shot her hut? I would like to post it.

              • It's a matter of prayer

                I will see what I can do. The interesting thing was she was a former drug addict. She had an exceptionally hard life. She got ahold of a badge and pistol. She would go up to individuals dealing in drugs and tell theme she would give them a break by not arresting them then take their drugs to sell. God has used her in mighty ways. She developed a ministry in both the men and women’s prisons. No one had been allowed to enter to preach before. When she went back the warden sent word that he would appreciate a visit. The prisoners were so changed that he knew there must be something to Christianity. I’ll email you about her story.

              • It's a matter of prayer

                I put her testimony on my blog “It’s a Matter of Prayer.”

                Mike thanks for being positive. I have been receiving quite a bit of negative material from ministers and missionaries. How can one serve our Lord who has such a positive message of hope and turn around and be so negative and critical? I’m not afraid to say it, “Jesus Christ is the hope of the world.”

                • ok. i read it. can i send later a few questions about the story? (i used to be a journalist). it’s a fabulous story. just need some dates. can we use the last name? do you have more pics of her? Her story could be picked up by a publisher… or made into a movie…

  5. True freedom= Whe you remain connected to God and His Love, Joy and Peace, no matter what you do, where you live, if you are rich or poor, facing tragedy or ‘blessings’

  6. catherineinspired

    Loved your post today! You brought up several things I need to be constantly reminded of…..

  7. It’s an emotive subject, but in all our world travels we have seen that for many poverty is a matter of attitude. People work until they have enough for their needs and then they socialise and have fun. They are richer in so many other ways than the monetarily richest.

  8. Poverty is better than anxiety. That statement has more depth than I think most will recognize. Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure, one of my favorite peices of bumper sticker wisdom.

    Tell me, will attitude fit in a mustard seed? Could Heaven and Hell exist on this level, in this life? Is anxiety not a burning? Is it not a gnashing of teeth?

    I don’t pretend to have the answers, to me, the idea that I could possibly understand the greatness of God would be arrogant to say the least. But I do know this. I find that how I think of things can propell me into states of being that I can only describe by saying “that was heavenly” or “this is hell”.

  9. hunger is painful but the Lord provides always, abundantly or meagerly doesn’t matter as long as we serve Him our needs are met. thank you for the wonderful ministry and education you provide. God Bless and Keep you and yours!

  10. I love your name MustardSeedBudget I can easily identify with that! Enjoyed you post. You never know where life is going to take you. I came to Peru about 14 yrs ago to climb in the Andes and returned for many yrs until I decided to stay. We have the skills knowledge and time to give back something and it’s personal and important. Keep doing the good work.

  11. There are other things in life that are more important than nice clothes, nice food, nice car. – Deep words!

  12. We are told in the Bible to be content with what the Lord has given us. Remember that Jesus, Himself gave up His throne in Heaven to live the life of a servant to us, and give His life as the final Passover Lamb. See what Scripture says about being content with whatever He deems is necessary for our survival. These are just two passages of many: “8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.”1 Tim 6:8-10 (NASB77)
    “5 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ” I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6 so that we confidently say,
    ” The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
    What shall man do to me?”
    Heb 13:5-6 (NASB77)
    At Living Sacrifice Ministries, we partner with ministries around the world doing God’s work with far less than most of us would ever dream possible, never once complaining. What is true poverty? To me, it is often nothing more than a state of mind.
    Serving Him through Serving Others,
    Jim Dakis

  13. Poverty is my middle name…It built calluses on my emotions. However it wasn’t stand alone poverty, HE was with me then and now…When I would change geographically God packed his suitcase and followed…This generation (aka the whine gen) requires instant gratification…They need to be wounded to become adults…From my prospective this is the reason conversion is so difficult…Standing in front of a microwave screaming “hurry up” is a prime example…Living without causes living within…

  14. Agree anxiety is much worse than hunger. Appreciate reminder that things cannot substitute as human comfort, laughter, feedback. Enjoy your posts.

  15. Pingback: Linky Love | Aewl's Abode

  16. I’d rather not glamorize poverty aka Slumdog Millionaire…
    Poverty in third-world countries is not something that you can switch on and off as you please…

    • I haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire but ought to. I’m not trying to glamorize poverty. Rather, I’m aiming to help rich Americans 1) be grateful, 2) stop complaining, 3) get perspective, and 4) be willing to sacrifice to serve. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Pingback: I won something! | your mess, His Message

  18. I think Christianity took a huge step backward when it embraced affluence. Life is richer when you know what you have has been delivered by God rather than a corporation.
    Bless you for serving Him

  19. It is easyier to fit a camel trough the eye of a needle then a richman reach the kingdom of heaven!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s