Revelation 2: 8-10
8 “And to the [d]angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a [e]synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Persecution and tribulation are part of the deal to those who love the Lord. Jesus said that in this world we will have trials and tribulations but we should be encouraged because He has overcome the world.
The church in Smyrna was a church that knew all too well what persecution was all about. Despite tribulation and poverty, their works still glorified God and Jesus takes note of that. In their poverty of material things, Jesus declares that they are rich in spiritual things and these are riches that do not perish.
The words of Jesus to this church are words to encourage them to keep standing during trouble. He tells them that more trouble is coming their way but they should not fear, instead, they should remain faithful until death and if they do Jesus promises them the crown of life!
The encouragement for you and I is this; Jesus sees all that we go through and he recognizes all that we do for him.
Sometimes when we go through trials we may think that God has forgotten about us or that he is not pleased with us and thus we are being punished. As you can see from what Jesus tells this church, that is not the case.
Jesus would ask of us today not to be afraid of the things we have to suffer. Remember he told us that we should not be afraid of those who can only destroy the body and not the soul.
There is a crown of life that awaits those who endure persecution and remain faithful.
What is your attitude towards persecution in the life of a believer?
What would you consider to be the greatest tribulation you have faced in your Christian life?
Though the Church in Smyrna was poor materially, Jesus says they are rich spiritually. What are your thoughts on material vs spiritual wealth?