“The wealthy are blessed in order to serve the poor” —Luke 12:48b
Last week, My husband, Jim, called to me from his office, “The eight richest people in the world hold as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population!”
I repeated the sentence in my mind a couple times, trying to comprehend it.
So…eight men could combine their bank accounts (not likely, I realize) and have as much money as 3.6 billion people would, if they were to pool theirs?
According to an Associated Press article dated Jan. 15th, 2017, yes. That’s the case.
Why the astounding inequality?
Well, I’m no economist. Or politician. Or statistician. But here’s what I’ve read numerous times (and again on http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats ) : Nearly 50% of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day.
When I look at things that way, I realize that I am quite wealthy…that even my financial status is part of this astounding inequality. My finger has to stop wagging.
It’s a lot to process.
I have to confess that I don’t typically view my material worth this way. When I’m looking at bills to be paid or when I’m struggling to save for a new sofa, I lose this perspective. The resources feel pretty scarce.
But the reality is that I’ve been entrusted with more than sufficient means. Enough that I should give careful attention to what I’m doing with them—especially in light of my hungry global neighbors.
Is it ok that I send my son to soccer camp while another mother watches hers die of hunger? Should I be kicking the thermostat a few degrees warmer when there are people sleeping on snowy benches in my own city?
While I don’t feel I can answer these questions definitively, I do believe this: God blesses us in order that we may be a blessing to others, not to overindulge ourselves.
Look at the Biblical examples:
There’s Joseph. When he was exalted to the second-highest position in Egypt (the wealthiest nation in the world at the time), he did not lounge on a throne, eating figs. He used that position and that wealth to feed all of Egypt and save the Israelites, as well.
Or take Esther. As queen of the Persian Empire, she had access to the finest things the world had to offer. But she risked it all (including her very life) to save the Jewish nation.
Our namesake, Boaz, didn’t hoard the grain in his field, but commanded his workers to leave some for the foreigner, the widow, the poor.
Page after page of the Bible, we are introduced to heroes of the faith who willingly shared what they had. Sometimes it was out of wealth, sometimes out of poverty. But Jesus praised generosity as simple as a cup of cold water given in His name.
I’ve seen a lot of poverty. I’ve seen a lot of wealth, too. And in truth, I’ll probably never be able to reconcile the disparity between the two.
But I do know this: To whom much has been given much will be required.
I’ve been given much, and the responsibility is great. I pray that I can use it wisely, blessing others.
To whom will you give a “cup of cold water” today?
*This article is the eighth in a series covering each of The Boaz Project’s core values. This month’s core value is “The wealthy are blessed in order to serve the poor”—Luke 12:48b