Do you know any rich people? Have you ever thought of yourself as one of the wealthiest people in human history.
A closer look at the facts about wealth will likely challenge the way most of us think about money and what it means to be wealthy.
Is the 1 percent the problem?
1% of the population has almost the same amount of money as the rest of the 99% combined. 48.2 percent of all of the world’s wealth is in the hands of just 1 percent of the population.
Before feeling sorry for yourself or wrongly judging the rich people, you are among the top 1 percent of earners on the planet if you make more than $50,000 a year.
$10 a day is the norm
Most of the population of the entire world (80 percent) lives on less than $10 a day. If your annual household income is above $9,733, you are doing better than most people.
The median household income for the global population is less than $10,000 a year.
Your coffee costs as much as many people spend in a whole day. More than a third of people on earth live on less than $2 a day. 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25.
Most Americans spend less than 10% of their personal income on food while most of the income (60% – 80%) of individuals in impoverished communities in other parts of the world is spent putting food on the table.
Writing on this theme, Jesse Carrey suggested that, “If you’re reading this article, that means, you have access to either a computer, a laptop or a smart phone. You have electricity. You have a connection to the Internet. If you know where your next meal is coming from and you don’t have to worry about getting clean water, having shelter over your head and accessing medical care, you benefit from more wealth than many people throughout human history.”
Not written for me
It’s likely that most of us read instructions to the rich found in I Timothy 6:17-19 as words that apply to others – to rich people. Yet the statistics above should make most of us read them as written for us.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
The truth about wealth should give needed perspective to those of us who live in prosperity. Ironically, there is pervasive discontentment in many prosperous places.
Let’s take seriously the words of Scripture – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
Let’s counter the pull toward discontentment by being rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share.
For those uncomfortable with global comparisons – I invite you to remember that followers of Christ are called to make disciples of “all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20) and to extend outreach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are identified and the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). The scope of our mission and influence is the earth/world. Yes, we should first learn to love our neighbor as our self before going global (Mark 12:31), but global perspective is part of our calling.