Monday, July 21, 2008

Have You Ever Been Mistaken for Bill Gates?

You probably know the story. It is captured in 3 of the 4 gospels of the Bible. Jesus is teaching and basically blowing away people's minds by stating things that are contrary to what they think God's plan and ways are all about. Enter a rich man. He wants to follow Jesus but is unwilling to give up his earthly wealth for the opportunity to do so. Then Jesus makes this statement:

And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. --Matthew 19:24

How many times have you read/heard this verse? Dozens, if not hundreds? Me too.

How many times have you thought that it didn't apply to you? You know, it applies to the rich people. It couldn't possibly apply to me

Dozens, if not hundreds? Me too.

I want to let you in on a little secret...if you are reading this blog, you are rich. Period.

I don't care if you aren't driving as nice of a car as your neighbor. I don't care that you could not afford that pair of $150.00 shoes that you wanted last week. I don't care even if the paint on your house is chipping a little. You have a car. You have shoes on your feet now. You have a home that protects you. You are rich.

Here are some staggering facts:

  • More than 10 million children under age 5 die each year. Two-thirds of these deaths — more than 6 million deaths every year — are preventable.
  • Children under age 5 account for less than 10 percent of the world's population, but suffer from 40 percent of the diseases attributed to environmental factors.
  • An estimated 130 million of the world's 15- to 24- year-olds cannot read or write.
  • Roughly one-sixth of the world's population, or 1.1 billion people, do not have access to safe water.
  • The average person in the developing world uses 2.6 gallons of water every day for drinking, washing and cooking. This is the same amount used in the average flush of a toilet.
  • Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS.
  • One person in seven goes to bed hungry every day.
  • Every day, nearly 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That amounts to one child every 5 seconds.
  • In 1970, wealthy nations agreed to a goal of spending 0.7 percent of their gross national product on assistance to developing countries. In 2004, these countries spent on average just 0.25 percent.
  • Lower-income Americans are among the nation's most generous givers, with 48 percent of households earning less than $25,000 per year giving at least $100 per year.

We live in a nation that thrives financially due to our discontentment. The American Dream has become a bloodlust for more stuff...more money, more cars, more jewelry, more entertainment, more homes, more Webkins...whatever. Has any of it ever really made anyone happy? We know it doesn't, but we still do it. It's our nature.

You see, we were created in the image of our God. That means we were made for another place. No wonder we're unhappy here, as our souls are longing for the perfection of Paradise that we were created for. However, most of us get it wrong (even when we know this is true) by trying to fill those gaps with things. That's not what we're called to do. We're called by God to be content with this life until we can enjoy the blessings of the next. We are called to reach out to the hurting and the needy with the blessings He has given us. You see, our nature is not an excuse to be discontent, it is an opportunity to overcome our humanity and strive to be Godly.

Plain and simple--we're comparing ourselves to the wrong people. Have you ever wondered why we always compare "up"? We seem to always see how others have more rather than the others that have less. We need to turn around and look in the other direction. We need a new perspective.

Remember, that to the 53% of people that live on less than $2/day, you might as well be Bill Gates.

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