The Poor Are Thankful Too – 9 Reasons

I have  been working with the extreme poor, people who live on less than $1.00 a day, for over 18 years.  Over these years there has been many sorrows, seeing the conditions in which they live and the tragedies they experience.  However, seeing the world through the eyes of the poor has also broadened my world view and made me exceedingly thankful for the things I have and the people in my life.

Having sat in hundreds of church services in some of the world’s poorest communities I have found the extreme poor to be wonderful examples of people of faith and hope.  Some have become my heroes and many I admire  for their deep love for God in the midst of pain and struggle.

Below are nine things I have witnessed the poor thank God for, while living in extreme poverty:

  1. The Small Things:  Maybe it is earning 25 cents today, or having electricity for an extra hour, or having a pencil to take to school this morning, the extreme poor are grateful for little things that come their way.  What we take for granted, poor Christians are giving thanks to God for them.
  2. Daily Provision: When you don’t have a refrigerator, a bank account, or a regular paying job the fact that there is food for you and your children to eat is not overlooked.  Waking up this morning, I didn’t give much thought about where my next meal was coming from, but for the poor, today’s challenge is providing today’s meal.  My father would always pray before each meal “For what we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful”.   Amen.
  3. A Christian Community:  We don’t naturally think that living in a crowded slum area, people would experience loneliness.  However, scripture says, “The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, while the rich have many friends”, Proverbs 14:20.  However, if you are Christian living in an African slum and there is a church nearby, you have a place to go and fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.  They may not be able to help you financially but spiritual comfort and prayer support are huge blessings to the poor.
  4. Standing before God: In India, an often taught passage of scripture is Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  At the foot of the cross, there is no caste system, no rich nor poor.  The church is the only institution where poor and rich can sit in the same row and worship together.  The poor are thankful for the love and respect shown to them by God.
  5. Protection:  A slum community is one of the most dangerous places on earth.  Drunkenness, drug use, and gangs make slums a violent and volatile place to live.  1 Peter 5:7-9 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…”.  No one feels more vulnerable to the “enemy” than a person with no savings, no job, and no home.  God is their fortress and their trust is in Him for protection.
  6. Health:  In a poor community a cold can easily turn into pneumonia, a mosquito bite can lead to Malaria, a cup of water can bring dysentery, a cut can become infected and lead to other more serious illnesses.  Doctors and medicines are hard to come by so when you are healthy you give thanks to God.
  7. Rain: A severe drought is currently taking place in the Horn of Africa.  Many people fall into extreme poverty because of such conditions.  When was the last time you thanked God for rain?
  8. Jesus: He is our Savior and friend.  For the poor, faith in Jesus gives hope for eternity.  Never having to live in a garbage dump or shanty house again, and knowing your future house is a mansion with streets of gold and no more illness, suffering, or death is a wonderful hope.
  9. You:  Whenever I travel I tell the poor about the donors to our projects.  I share how a nine year old boy raked leaves to raise money for the food program.  I tell them about the family who prays for them and has given a small amount every month for the last year so their children can go to school.  I share how an elderly couple gave part of their life’s savings through their will to fund 30 orphans to go to college for the next four years.  The poor know your gifts to them are a sacrifice and they thank God for you and your generosity.

The life of a poor person is hard; I don’t think I would survive long living on less than $1.00 a day.  It is awful and grotesque, but out of these horrible conditions come some of the Godliest people I have ever met.  They love, trust and thank God for simple things that I take for granted almost every day.

Please leave a comment about what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

November comes from the Latin word “novem”, which means the number “nine”.  Each member of the Christian Writers Blog Chain is writing this month using a theme of “nine”.  Check them out at www.ChristianWriters.com

About C. H. Dyer

I am the CEO of Bright Hope. I am dedicated to helping those who earn less than $1.00 a day. There are one billion people in my target market (the extreme poor) and I could use some help. I am a Christian, father of three (two are internationally adopted), entrepreneur, speaker, improving writer and amateur photographer.

22 Responses to “The Poor Are Thankful Too – 9 Reasons”

  1. C.H.,

    Perfect post for reminding us of the many things we have to be thankful for. We so often take for granted the 3 meals and a comfortable bed to sleep in… luxuries to many people in the world today… yet I am amazed whenever I cross paths with people who literally have nothing, in this country and others, who are content knowing that they have a friend in Jesus.

    I’m most thankful this thanksgiving for my family and friends, I wasn’t with them last year and missed them dearly.

    • Thanks Chris,
      I appreciate the encouragement. In our materialistic world we have to work hard to keep our perspective and be content with what we have.

      CH

  2. What a wonderful post, C.H. Even in my current state of unemployment, I have much more than the people to whom you minister, and it blesses me to be reminded of all for which I can be thankful – parents who support me as I search for a new job (letting me live rent-free until I get an income again, continuing to feed me and keep my cell phone working so I can make and receive calls about jobs, etc.); friends who uplift me in prayer and encourage my faith as I wait for God’s timing; interests and hobbies that keep me busy while I wait for responses to applications; and much more.

    I appreciate your post, my brother. Thank you for sharing.

    • It is only by God’s grace Traci that you are staying hopeful and content during this difficult season. God will use this time in your life to draw you closer to Him and minister to others with empathy and compassion.

      Thanks for you comments and blessing to you on your job search.
      CH

  3. At first I thought you were talking about me among the “poor,” but I guess I’m doing better than those guys. I pray my financial situation won’t get any worse. I’m associated with a group of handicapped people, most of whom are the humblest people you could meet. This is because they trust God to provide all their needs.

    Great post.

    ~ VT

    • Thanks Victor. It is real easy for us to think we are poor when going through difficult times. But God is with us and with God we are never really poor.

      Blessings,
      CH

  4. Wow. These are the kinds of things that make one stop and think. Wouldn’t it be wondrful if everyone could have this same heart of gratitude. Unfortunately it often takes dire circumstances like you described in order for us to do so.

  5. Oh…wow! Bless you for this amazing list! A gift and a treasure. May many read, many hearts be touched. Thank you for deeply touching mine. You have rocked my world today with your words.

  6. Enjoyed reading the post even though it was MOST uncomfortable.

  7. I’ve often seen poorer people appear more contented and thankful than the richest among us. May we all develop such a heart of thankfulness.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. This was a wonderful post, CH. Really thoughtful and thought provoking. Thank you for the reminders!

  9. Great post. I often seen by spiritual emptiness more clearer when I am in the presence of the poor.

  10. I just got an email this week from my niece and her husband who are missionaries in Uganda. She also mentions those same blessings of having an extra hour of electricity and basic medical supplies for the clinic. And she always mentions the deep faith of those with whom they minister. Yes, we are truly blessed and don’t always appreciate it.

    • Thanks Chris for this comment. I have been to Uganda on several occasions and know the types of challenges your niece faces. May the Lord protect them and bless their ministry.

  11. My goodness, did THAT put things into perspective. I’m reminded (as Keith said, quite uncomfortably) of how often we forget to express thanks for possessions we own and gifts we receive that cost us so much more than the daily dollar these folks rely on simply to survive. A person could live for a year on this kind of food for thought. . . .

    Thank you for your frank perspective. Even in this, you’re bringing wealth to people who don’t have as much as they should. ;-)

  12. Wonderful post and touching list. I learned years ago to praise God for the little things, things we take for granted…like a toothbrush, hot water, electricity, a roof over my head…and for the things I do not have and the things the Lord has withheld from me. God bless you for all you do to help those without this world’s goods.

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