Thanks to Global Rich List, I now know that I make more money than 91% of the people on this planet. Not too shabby for a law school dropout and the biggest embezzler in South Florida history.
It’s odd, because I often feel quite poor. I drive my aging car past gates of McMansions where foreign sports cars sit parked outside, gleaming in the sun and mocking me with their newness. I brace myself and go tense inside at the prospect of opening bills. I stand in line behind people with iPhone 12’s and look sorrowfully at my now-antiquated iPhone 4. I fumble for my coupons and feel a peculiar twinge of shame at the imaginary judgement from the people around me.
I suppose it’s easy to feel this way when you live in a country filled with outward signs of affluence. It’s difficult to not feel envy because we are surrounded by people who have even more than we do.
|I’m the 534,885,058 richest person on earth!
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To fight this, we have to remember that OUR world is not THE world. Consider the fact that 3 billion people on earth live on less than $2.50 a day. Or that 22,000 children die daily from easily preventable conditions. What will my excuse be when I see God and he says, “I made you wealthier than 91% of the people on earth. What did you do?”
Now, by using these statistics, I run the risk of alienating people who say, “You’re just trying to make me feel guilty so I’ll give more.” That’s not what this is about, although guilt may be an appropriate response (I know it is for me). The idea is to gain some perspective so that a passage like 1 Timothy 6:17-19 takes on new meaning:
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
When I read that passage in the past, I’d always say, “Nice one, God! Way to put those rich folks in their place”, but now I realize this is written directly to me. Gulp.
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