Eugene Cho

faith and money [4]: blessed and vulnerable

This is Part 4 of the series on Faith and Money.  You can the previous entries here:  [1] Where is Your Treasure, [2] What is Money, and [3] Control or Controlled.

The last few months – locally and globally – have certainly been like a bad roller coaster ride that leaves one disoriented and vomitaceous.  And unless you’re completely detached from the money machine, you’re likely impacted on some personal level and feeling pretty anxious.   Another reason why I’m talking about Money?  Because, in short, it is the prevailing idolatry in our world. 

In this post, I want to share two simple thoughts:  You are Blessed and Remember the Vulnerable.

You are Blessed.  Say that to yourself again and again and again.  Because we truly are.  If you have a roof over your head, enjoyed three meals today, and will sleep in your own bed tonight, you are blessed.  Because so many of us are conditioned in this Upward Mobility Mindset where we want more and covet more, we compare our wealth to those who are wealthier which then will subsequently, make you feel poor.

But, here is the simple truth and reality:  YOU ARE BLESSED.  Especially during this economic downturn, please remember this.  If you visit http://globalrichlist.com, you’ll get a sense how “rich” you are in comparison to the larger world.

My annual income as a pastor is $66,000.  I don’t consider it to be a large salary.  I have, at times, compared my salary to other pastors with larger salaries and coveted more.  But when I submit my annual salary on globalrichlist.com, it indicates that I am the 52,816,732 richest person in the world!  That puts me in the TOP .88 riches % in the world.  Wow.  Click on this image to learn how rich you are!  And feel free to share what % you are in the world and share on your blog

So before you start complaining, whining, and coveting, please count your blessings. 

Remember the Vulnerable.  In this real economic crisis, the ones that are most vulnerable are the poorest of the poor – both locally and globally.  The global food crisis was having a dramatic impact on the world’s poor even before the current onset of global recession.

Consider these stunning REAL numbers that impact REAL people:

  • 1 child dying every 3 seconds
  • 18 children dying every minute
  • A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring every week
  • An Iraq-scale death toll every 15–36 days
  • Almost 10 million children dying every year
  • Some 60 million children dying between 2000 and 2006

While we all freak out about the global financial crisis, let’s consider that about 3 billion people live on less than $2/day; 1 billion people live on less than $1/day and 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water. 

During an economic recession, people will likely and wisely hunker down and seek to reduce spending in their lives.  In my opinion, seeking to reduce our consumerism and learning to live more simpler is a great plus that we can learn during this recession.  But, in that pursuit, I want to encourage you NOT to reduce your generosity and giving to the poor.  Honor your giving, generosity, compassion, and commitments to various organizations.  In fact, I would encourage you to consider GIVING MORE in light of what we all know – giving to the poor and impoverish will be dramatically impacted during this global recession.

Consider the global priorities in spending in 1998.  These statistics will tell you that our priorities are skewed. 

Global Priority $U.S. Billions
Cosmetics in the United States 8
Ice cream in Europe 11
Perfumes in Europe and the United States 12
Pet foods in Europe and the United States 17
Business entertainment in Japan 35
Cigarettes in Europe 50
Alcoholic drinks in Europe 105
Narcotics drugs in the world 400
Military spending in the world 780

 And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries:

Global Priority $U.S. Billions
Basic education for all 6
Water and sanitation for all 9
Reproductive health for all women 12
Basic health and nutrition 13

Filed under: family, religion

8 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    The truth.

    Hope folks are listening to you.

    I guess I’ve said that at least once before here :^)

  2. Eddie says:

    Eugene,

    This is another great post in your series. Perspective man. Perspective.

  3. […] Rich Are You? – A little perspective for yah! Jump to Comments Eugene Cho from Seattle posted about Globalrichlist.com. Basically, when you go to the site, it asks you to […]

  4. Holly says:

    Thank you for this post! I linked it to my blog as I’m discussing the Christian’s response to poverty this week.

  5. kristine says:

    Eugene: Thanks for writing this! I was thinking some of the same thoughts during Sunday service when the economy was brought up once again. I sat there and couldn’t help but wonder if our understanding of God’s provision is a bit skewed when we take for granted how much we, Americans, do have.

  6. Kevin King says:

    Wow. Not many taking you up on your question of publishing their pay! I am also a pastor, but make significantly less (only $23,250 a year) which puts me at the 627,625.030 richest in the world and just a little outside of the top 10% at 10.46%.
    But with all those numbers, I must say I have no debt, I love what I do, and strangely feel no “need” for anything.

    Keep up the good work, blog ya soon! Kevin

  7. […] story short, we are blessed and I know that one way or the other, we’ll get through this season even if that means we […]

  8. […] like a little perspective. Check out this post from Eugene Cho and quit […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

#MyAttemptToBeTheBestSmartphonePhotographer 
#Pusan #SouthKorea

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 6 hours ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 6 hours ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 6 hours ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 2 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 4 days ago