Thursday, April 25, 2013

Something Stunning About You That Will Rattle You. . . .


Yesterday a link my friend Brandon Fisher put on his Facebook page caught my eye. I took the bait, checked it out. . . and was stunned. The stunning wasn't occasioned by learning something new. Rather, it came from being reminded of something that I would much rather forget. It's about money. . . the money I make. . . and what I have.

First, some background. I like to think that I'm not rich. It's easy to convince myself of that when I drive through nicer neighborhoods or ponder guys like Donald Trump. But several years ago I was challenged to think globally. When that happened, I had to reckon with the fact that since I most likely fall within the top 2 percent of the world's population in terms of wealth, then. . . well. . . I'm rich. But a quick trip back to driving and pondering usually removes the thought about that reality and the responsibility that comes with that.

But then I think about being in the 2 percent. Which then leads to this. . . If I am indeed rich in the world order of things, then Jesus talked about me. . . a lot. The reality is that God cares deeply about our attitudes and practices when it comes to money and wealth. More is said in the New Testament about money and wealth than about heaven and hell combined. Five times more is said about money than about prayer. And 16 of Christ's 38 parables deal with money.

So, what was the link Brandon posted that occasioned these thoughts? It's the Global Rich List. You need to check it out. It's quite simple to use. Choose the "income" route. Select your country from the drop down list to be sure you have the correct monetary unit, and then enter your annual net income. Then, hit the "show my results" button. It's compelling. . . stunning. . . convicting.

I did a little fiddling around on the site and discovered this: Anyone whose net income is $24,000 or above. . . . you are in the top 2 percent globally. If your net income is $10,000, you are in the top 15 percent globally. A net income of $10,000 and you are rich. I'm in a smaller group that the top 2 percent.

This has me thinking today. Show it to your students. Talk about it. And then, read the Gospels. And then. . .


4 comments:

Kate and Brad Aldrich said...

Humbling! Thank you for the reminder! It is so easy to forget, but so important to remember!

Kate and Brad Aldrich said...

Humbling! Thank you for the reminder! In this world it is so easy to forget, but so important to remember!

J Kanz said...

Hi Walt,
I don't think I have ever commented here before, but I do read your blog regularly. I think that tools like this can be very convicting and can even be useful to help us to reflect on what Jesus said about money and about the gospel. Sometimes, though, I think that things like this lack nuance. Is it fair to look simply at income without attention to other variables that differentiate cultures from one another? Does something like this factor in standard of living, for example (while granting that most Americans have a much higher standard of living than most of the world). How can we look at this information redemptively while at the same time attending to the nuances?

Bruce Smith said...

Great link, Thanks, Walt. We need to be reminded from time to time that our perspective is really skewed. We live in a rich society where we feel "poor" but are really just poor by comparison, not in reality.
A few years ago, went with my family on a mission trip to Sneedville, TN, where the average household income is less than $12,000/year. One teenage intern was working in the program there to earn money for her FIRST NEW school clothes. Who among our kids have ever had NO new clothing ever? (The mission there gathered donated clothing to distribute regularly for free to area residents.) It was really eye opening.