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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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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