Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hello, my prosperous friends!

What does it mean to be wealthy? I'm not talking about metaphysical types of "wealth," though I'm sure we could all think of ways that the love of friends and family makes us "wealthy." No, I'm talking about traditional wealth--having more than enough money, stuff, and provision.

I went to a class at church last night, and we watched a DVD of Beth Moore, a speaker. She read from a book by Phillip Yancey. While I don't have the exact quote, Yancey said something like this:

If you are reading this, you are wealthy. Just having the money to buy a book and the ability to read it puts you ahead of most other people in the world.


Most of us don't feel wealthy. We may think that those who make quite a bit more money than we do are wealthy, but we are often hesitant to put ourselves in that category.

But you're reading this. On a computer. That means you have had enough education to learn to read, and you either have enough wealth to own computer, or you live in a prosperous enough society that you're provided with some sort of computer access--possibly free.

You may start to feel wealthy when you realize that "At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day."

You may start to feel wealthy when you realize that in the year 2000 almost a billion people were unable to read or sign their names.

You may start to feel wealthy when you realize that even if your net worth is negative and you're unemployed, you probably live in a country where someone will provide you with enough food to keep you alive. Yet in our world 25,000 children die due to poverty, every day.

(Above statistics & quote were found here.)

We're wealthy. What should we do with our newfound wealth?

I'm not sure I know the answer to that question. What do you think?


Dan & Hillary said...

I was shocked yesterday to learn on PBS news that young children in Afghanistan earn 16cents per day to lug 20lb bags of flour illegally across the border into Pakistan- only to be beaten on the way back for their actions.

I'm not sure what to do, either, but I need to start by increasing my thankfullness to God instead of asking for my 'Santa wish list.'

Call Me Cate said...

As a child growing up with not much, I thought wealth was about money. Now I realize that compared to so many people in the world, I had so much. Now I think of material wealth as being more about having options. The metaphysical has always been a struggle in my life.

I'm very thankful for my "wealth". I try to appreciate what I have instead of focusing on what I don't. And I try to be generous when possible.

Dani said...

This is a refreshing perspective. We live in a world where people are constantly focused on getting more and more than what they have. Yet we fail to see that we already have so much more than most. This post made me relax even more about the fact that my hubby hasn't found a good job in over a year. At least he HAS a job...although he is sick of it. We have all our needs provided for. And MORE. I have a computer. We have a television (I DO want to cancel cable though) and two vehicles. I many people in the world have those things? Many in the US...but outside that? I am so blessed to live in this country.

Unknown said...

hi, Beth:
you saw me posting on Twitter earlier this week about USA Family Incomes. It's amazing that if you make +64k/year as a family you are in the upper 25% of American Families. And there are days that it stinks to be at this income level, which is relatively high. Then I go to Stage a home of someone in a big, expensivce home who's owner lost their job, is in foreclosure and filing bankruptcy. And I realize, we are healthy, happy and living within our means: We have it made compared to many others.
Not trying to discount the poverty in the world/ our country, but wanted to put a different perspective out! Always be Thankful!

2cats said...

What to do?
We should give thanks to God that he saw fit to put us in this country and not Afghanistan or some other third world country.
Even with all that might be wrong in this country it is still by far the bast in the world.

Scriptor Senex said...

Perhaps the first thing we have to do with our new found wealth is learn to appreciate it and stop moaning - as so many of us do - about wanting more.
My brother has a dinnertime toast when friends are around which goes something like - "To being wealthy - there's a meal on the table and friends to share it with. What more could one want".

Janna said...

Here's a quote from a book I read this week titled Sounder about a young black boy during the days of slavery:

"The boy had heard once that some people had so many books they only read each book once. But the boy was sure there were not that many books in the world."

A sobering thought.We are very blessed.

Eternal Lizdom said...

It's so easy to get caught up in what we don't have and not realize the blessings- in all forms- that surround us.

Threeblindsheep said...

This reminds me of a post I did a week or so ago on "It's only one-billionth about you." This was a sobering thought to me--as is your post. thanks so much for getting into my brain and spirit this morning--I "feel" wealthier! --sheep C

C. Beth said...

Hillary--I think your first step (thankfulness) is a good one.

Cate--I think it's the generosity part of it that is on my mind...I'm just not sure, who do we give to? How much? It's tough--we will always have so much more than most other people (likely). It actually makes me feel kind of guilty.

Dani--I think your ability to relate this to your situation wtih Dh is great!!

Michael--That is a great perspective! You're right, even those who have a whole lot don't have any guarantees.

2cats--Thankfulness...if we could live in that mindset all the time we'd be a whole lot happier (and probably a whole lot more generous!)

Scriptor--I love your brother's toast; thank you for sharing it!

Janna--That is a great quote! Thanks for the quote, and the comment. :)

Lizdom--SO true! I hate when I get in that discontent mindset.

Threeblindsheep--It's easy to forget the world doesn't revolve around us, isn't it??

silver star said...

It's hard to find positive things in your life when there's so much negativity around as well. I hurt a lot, but I am still alive. I live with my mom, but I don't have to live on the streets. I am reading this on a laptop plugged into the wall in my home w/an air conditioner that's making me cold after working all night in the heat. I could go on and on, but that's something I've been thinking about some lately (mostly at work), and I am glad you were able to put into words what I haven't been able to. I am wealthy. I should be grateful for what I have.