To Whom Much is Given…
How often do we think about how much we have to be thankful for instead of how many bills we have to pay? It is sometimes easy to forget that we live in a nation of abundance even when we don’t “feel” like we are on the receiving end of that fact. Statistics tell us that our unemployment rate is 5.0% and closer to 10.4% among African Americans. Our middle class is shrinking and many people are struggling to provide for their families despite working fulltime at 2 or 3 low wage jobs. Economists continue to tell us the economy is sluggish and productivity flat. We keep hearing the outlook is bleak and if it’s not doomsday yet, it will be soon. And yet, as a nation, we throw away more food than we consume. How can that be?
Yes, it is true that some are far better off than others and that there are those for whom just “making it” every day is a struggle, financially. There are children who go to bed hungry and families who are challenged just to put a healthy meal on the table. There is no question that extreme poverty is a reality in this country. And, yet with all that said, when we look at the United States in comparison to the rest of the world, this nation is one of the wealthiest with an abundance of resources in both people and capital. Many of those who have little in finances or resources, still have more than most of the world’s poor and struggling populations. Just consider the following:
- If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
- If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
- If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation, you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.
- If you can read this message, you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.
When we take stock in what we have and where we live, there is a measure of humility that should fill our hearts, and generate a need in each of us to share from what we do have with those who have nothing to share at all. In this country, certain types of statistical information, media promotion and business interests cultivate a false narrative that there is not enough to meet our needs. This promotes panic, despair and a spirit of lack among the people, when the truth is that there is no lack but rather, more than enough. The problem is that a small percentage of people have accumulated so much wealth for themselves, while ignoring the responsibility they have to the adage “To whom much is given…. much is required.” What would happen if those who have way too much began to share from their abundance with those who have too little? It just might begin to address poverty and hunger in a country where there is no reason for anyone to go hungry. As Americans, we all have different perspectives on the Thanksgiving Holiday, as the holiday itself is historically complicated. You know, the Pilgrims, the First Nations, and the disparate accounts of that so-called first Thanksgiving we like to remember. Instead, let’s challenge one another to count our blessings, be thankful for what we have and then, generously, share with others because we have more than enough…with a generosity of heart and a generosity of spirit we can make a difference. It is our responsibility to recognize…what is required when we have been given so much.
Up Next Week: Terrorism LIVES in America & it’s NOT ISIS