I know Your Affliction and Your Poverty, Even Though You are Rich!


I pity the person who has money, but does not know what to do with it. I pity the person who is rich, but is mentally impoverished. In the Book of Revelation, John writes to the church at Smyrna that :

Revelation 2: “I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich.[1]

When we read the larger passage of scripture and see the fuller picture of what John is saying to this church it is easy to see modern day applications to the text:

Revelation 2: “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:

“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death. [2]


While the Revelation of John can seem both terrifying and difficult to understand, to the first century church that faced multiple persecutions from the Roman Empire, the message was loud and clear. John is writing from a prison on the Island of Patmos. He is thought to be the only one of the Apostles of Jesus who was not martyred. This letter from prison is an amazing witness and glimpse into the challenges faced by the early church. In many respects it is still relevant for the contemporary church and believers in Jesus Christ.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How can a person or in this case, a church, be afflicted and in poverty in spite of being rich?



Lord, grant me measure in perspective. Help me to appreciate each of the blessings you have showered upon me. Teach me that money is not everything. Lord, show me how to use my gifts for good and not evil. Bless me with the ability to rise above simple satisfaction with material things and lead me in the path of righteousness, that I might be rich in faith, rich in hope and rich in love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 2:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 2:8–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.