Poverty Sermon Illustrations

Poverty Sermon Illustrations

George Bowen came from the U.S.A. to India as far back as 1848 and remained in that country, without ever visiting his homeland, till his death in 1888. His outlook was aggressive—he wanted to see moral earthquakes, even church-quakes. He had no time for formality and lived a life of holy poverty. Once it was his turn to entertain the missionaries in the city at the monthly breakfast which followed a time of prayer and Bible reading, and since he had only four pice in his possession, he hoped that none would stay for food. Three did, so a napkin was placed on the table, cold tea brought in from the night before, and some bread. His four pice was spent on sugar; an orphan boy who lived with him had two pice which the boy spent on plantains. Then Bowen said, 'I am sorry to be so shortcoming in the rites of hospitality, but in the providence of God I find myself compelled to treat you just as I am accustomed to treat myself.'

To the end he was a great believer in street preaching. After some years he moved into a better living room about 20 feet square, opening on the street. Later he occupied a corner behind some stocks of books in the shop of the Tract Society, sleeping, in the hot weather, on the counter with some papers for a pillow. Seeing his threadbare shirts, a friend gave him Rs.25 for new ones. He handed the money to the Mission Treasury and kept wearing the old ones. His income was Rs.5 a month! His health was good: for five years he did not take a drop of medicine. But he suffered from frequent headaches—a sore enough affliction! Despite shabby clothes and frayed trouser ends, Bowen was the friend of governors, and sometime in the 70's the Prince of Wales came to his tiny room to convey to him Queen Victoria's thanks for the blessing Bowen's books had been to her. Bowen was a wonder to many.

(James 2. 5)


Gold and the gospel seldom do agree;
Religion always sides with poverty.—Bunyan


I have seen the Christian man in the depths of poverty, when he lived from hand to mouth, and scarcely knew where he should find the next meal, still with his mind unruffled, calm and quiet. If he had been as rich as an Indian prince, yet could he not have had less care. If he had been told that his bread should always come to his door, and the stream which ran hard by should never dry; if he had been quite sure that ravens would bring him bread and meat in the morning, and again in the evening—he would not have been one wit more calm. There is his neighbor on the other side of the street not half so poor, but wearied from morning till night, working his fingers to the bone, bringing himself to the grave with anxiety.—Spurgeon


Poverty is no disgrace, but that's about all that can be said in its favor.


A traveler passing through the Broad Top Mountain district in northern Bedford County, Pennsylvania, last summer, came across a lad of sixteen cultivating a patch of miserable potatoes. He remarked upon their unpromising appearance and expressed pity for anyone who had to dig a living out of such soil.

"I don't need no pity," said the boy resentfully.

The traveler hastened to soothe his wounded pride. But in the offended tone of one who has been misjudged the boy added; "I ain't as poor as you think. I'm only workin' here. I don't own this place."


One day an inspector of a New York tenement-house found four families living in one room, chalk lines being drawn across in such manner as to mark out a quarter for each family.

"How do you get along here?" inquired the inspector.

"Very well," was the reply. "Only the man in the farthest corner keeps boarders."


There is no man so poor but that he can afford to keep one dog, and I hev seen them so poor that they could afford to keep three.—Josh Billings.


May poverty be always a day's march behind us.


Not he who has little, but he who wishes for more, is poor.—Seneca.

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