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

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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