There is nothing wrong with being wealthy.
There is nothing wrong with making a really great living.
But it feels like there is something wrong with a system that has allowed this:
Here are just a few thoughts that struck me as I watched this video.
Christians should find this unsettling
I would HOPE that this would make even the most conservative, capitalist, free-market Christian uncomfortable. I’m not a socialist by any means, and I think competition in an open market brings out better products. But to anyone claiming allegiance to Jesus, the disparity illustrated here should be unsettling. Our primary citizenship should be as members of the Kingdom of God, not Americans. We do hold citizenship in both realms, but check out what Luke 14 says:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who doesn’t carry his cross and follow my cannot be my disciple.
By comparison, Jesus’ disciples must put their love and allegiance in Him above all else. Jesus followers have a higher calling to view people with an extremely high regard. Seeing such a disparity should tug at our heartstrings, especially because the God we worship cares so much for the “least of these.”
The “next step up” never feels extravagant
Think about it. The level of the “top 1%” seems extravagant to those trying to “scrape by.” But they didn’t get there overnight. They just reached for the next income level, and then the next one. It only seem extravagant because it’s way out of your reach, but when you are knocking on the door of the next income level above you, does it seem extravagant?
To the person in a squalid hut in Africa, an apartment with running water is extravagant.
But to the person renting that apartment, owning a home (probably looking for more space) doesn’t seem extravagant at all.
It just seems like the next step.
No one thinks they are rich. The American Dream, that anyone in America can get as rich as possible any way possible is a sham. Greed drives this “next step up” mentality and causes us to be discontented with what we have. Studies have shown that we are living so far outside of our means that nearly everyone in America describes the perfect salary as about 40% more than what they currently make.
“If only I could afford _____________, then I would be able to relax.”
This is the dangling carrot that you’ll never catch.
To someone else, you are the one with “more”
There is always someone with more, but that means there is always someone with less. It is easy to sit on your high horse and say, “shame on all those rich people.” But here’s the real deal:
You are [almost certainly] not the lowest person on this chart.
There is someone with less than you. All of us can point to where the problem is and it never seems to be with us. Because we don’t think we have enough. We strive for that “comfortable” level, but it never comes. The way this cycle breaks is that we all need to work to break the strangle-hold possessions and money have on our hearts.
And when it starts to hurt, when we start to feel the pinch of giving, we need to give just a little more.
It’s time to debunk the lie that we are poor, and that we don’t have any flexibility in our income. It’s time to start looking out for those that have less than ourselves.
It’s time to let Christ make us generous people and let that be one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the world.
What stood out in this video to you?