Many of you reading this blog post live in what we label the "first world". We come from affluent societies, live in homes with stoves, refrigerators, heating and air conditioning. We have places to house or park our cars (usually more than one). We have a separate bedroom for the kids, and running hot water. And we have computers, tablets, and/or smart phones on which to view this blog post.
One of the biggest issues with us first world dwellers is a serious lack of contentment and lack of perspective on how much we truly have. I had a cousin on facebook recently say something about "if all your hand-earned money goes to putting a roof over your head and food in your fridge, that is slavery".
That comment really made me pause and think. Do we know just how many people in the world wished they had a proper roof over their heads, a refrigerator to store food, and enough food to fill said refrigerator? It reminded me of when I lived in Brazil and would see their favela slums. These people lived in ramshackle homes that climbed up seemingly-uninhabitable hillsides. If they had electricity, it was stolen from local wires. And for such a wet climate, it always made me so sad to see that they rarely had proper windows, just holes in the walls.
When did we lose the ability to have perspective? We look around at our fancy neighbors and want what they have, not realizing how very rich we already are. When did we become so covetous? When did we begin to think we, whose poorest are still among some of the wealthiest in the world, deserve more? When did we stop praising God for how very much we have?
Don't get me wrong, it is draining to live paycheck to paycheck, worrying about how we will pay for life next week. It is draining to watch all of your hard-earned money only go to food and shelter, with nothing on the side for enjoyment. I get it. I've been there. But that doesn't change that we are still wealthy in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't change that God provides for his childrens' NEEDS, but not always their WANTS.
This is something I still struggle with. My 2 bedroom 2 bathroom home has very few closets. I struggle to think about where we will fit a baby (and all said baby's stuff) in 7 months. But how very spoiled am I that I have TOO MUCH STUFF?!
Here is a website I really want to encourage you to take 2 minutes to visit. It is called the Global Rich List, and it will tell you what percentage your fall in based on your income. Just a heads up, someone bringing in only $20,000 per year is in the top 4% of the world. It is very eye-opening to see where you fall, and reminds me, for sure, to stop complaining about things I don't have and remember those who have so very much less than I do.
And here is one final eye-opener, which reminds me daily not only how fortunate I am, but my obligation as a Christian to help those who aren't as fortunate as me: