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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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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