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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First day of our daughter's college years at this great school. We love you. We're so proud of you.We believe in you. Go Huskies. Go Dawgs. And also, beat Stanford this Friday. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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