Eugene Cho

an attitude of gratitude on thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  For this post, I want to encourage you with two simple thoughts: You are Blessed and Remember the Vulnerable.   One must choose to have this attitude of gratitude because it is our human nature to complain and be envious of others.  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.  

So: What are you thankful for?

For me, I’m thankful for the meaningful things in my life:  the presence, truth and grace of the Triune God, my family, my wife and three children, my church community, friends, the opportunities I have, and thankful for the gift of choice that enables much privilege in my life.  I pray that I can be a good steward of such gifts in my life.

Here are the two thoughts of encouragement:

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!

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 2.7 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

If you’re interested in partnering with us in our global poverty initiative, feel free to donate by clicking the link below.  You can view the initiative video and FAQ.

Filed under: family, religion,

5 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    Like you, I’m thankful for my spouse and children and the opportunity to have so much freedom and safety. I’m heartbroken over what has gone on in India.

  2. d says:

    my Facebook status: “Dennis is thankful for mom and dad, who kicked my juvenile-immature-headed-for-jail-punk-ass into a person of faith and integrity. i love you omma and appa.”

  3. […] you know Eugene Cho is one of the wealthiest humans in the world? Amazing. That blog post was just another reminder that I live the good life and I need to be […]

  4. […] Fri 28 Nov 2008 · No Comments Go to the global rich list to find out: Global Rich List. (You will just enter your annual income in a box and it will show you a graphic like this, and where you fit.) (HT: Pastor Eugene Cho – An attitude of gratitude) […]

  5. Bret says:

    I am thankful that God provided enough volunteers and food to feed 150 meals to the needy onThanksgiving.

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One Day’s Wages

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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) May our hearts break for injustice and exploitation - whether abroad or in our own backyard. Spending a few days for @onedayswages in Thailand. Along with one of our board members, I'm traveling with a group of 10 others to learn, listen and visit a few NGOs including one of our partners, @thefreedomstory. Couple days ago, we spent an evening walking through Soi Cowboy. On a given night, about 10,000 people are in the ring of prostitution in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Much of this is driven by the consumer demand. Approximately 70% of male tourists go to Thailand for the sex industry.

Human trafficking is complex. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or selling you something. 
To reduce it to simple terms, or simple problems, or simple solutions…cause harmful consequences. While we can all agree that it is sinful, egregious, evil, and wrong…there are many nuances and complexities. It would serve all of us to grow deep in the awareness not just of the larger issue but the nuances and complexities.

When people speak of human trafficking, they tend to be ‘attracted’ to the issue of sexual exploitation. Dare I say it, human trafficking has become trendy as a justice issue.

Clearly, it’s evil and egregious. But to reduce the entire issue of human trafficking into one form is not helpful. Because the mission is to fight the entire injustice of slavery. And if that’s the commitment, we have to not only combat sexual exploitation but engage in issues of poverty, forced labor, commercial exploitation in tourism, land rights and power abuses, organized crime networks, cultural and economic realities, etc.

Oh, it's so complex but we have to be engaged whether in Thailand or in our own backyards. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God... More thoughts to come.

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