Can I Borrow Your Car? Addictive Lovers of our Life, Part 11


Are you rich, filthy rich?

Most of us would answer, "I wish I were!"

If you were to compare your yearly salary (in US $) with that of the rest of the world, what would you find? Would you discover that you truly are poor? Or is it possible that you are better off than you think?

Let's see.

The Per Capita annual Income in this world, according to the World Bank and the CIA Fact Book, adjusted according to the cost of living in each country, or otherwise called the PPP method, is $8,200 US.

For those considered low income, it is $2,190 US.

For those considered middle income, it is $6,000 US.

And then those who are rich, those labelled "high income", it is $29,480 US.

According to world standards, which category would you find yourself in? (See http://www.success-and-culture.net/articles/percapitaincome.shtml ) Would you have ever guessed?

Are we even aware that most people in this world live on $2.00 US a day? Some countries are even worse off. Take Sierra Leone, for instance. There they live on the equivalent of $1.45 US a day! Would we be able to survive with such a tiny sum? Would we be able to provide for our families? Do we even get excited if someone gave us $2.00 US?

Are we rich according these statistics? Filthy rich? We better believe it! Interestingly, we are the first to complain that we have a hard time making ends meet! Is it possible that we are trying to live beyond our means, beyond what we can truly afford?

Now compare our income with what we are willing to part with to help those living in poverty conditions. Does it measure up? Are we even making a difference?

"Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, 'The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford - she gave her all!'" (Luke 21:1-4)

Do we ever give extravagantly like that poor widow in Jesus' day? Do we truly care for the needs of others?

"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev 3:17 NIV)

"Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!'" (Mark 10:23 NIV)

Those who are rich (that is, living at or beyond the world's high income), especially those who live with the attitude of the rich are referred to as "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" in the Bible. Interestingly, those who are poor and have the attitude of a poor person are labelled as "rich" in God's eyes!

"I know your afflictions and your poverty - yet you are rich!" (Rev 2:9 NIV)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:3 NIV)

"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5 NIV)

In which category do we place ourselves? Who considers us to be rich: The world, or God? Is it possible that we have been blinded by the illicit lover called the almighty dollar? Is it possible that we have lost compassion because of the blinding treasures of this world?

How would you feel if I came up to you and asked you if I could borrow your car? You know me quite well by now, through my writing anyway. But would you loan me your car?

While at college in France I met someone who was living with the mindset of the poor. After a week of taking classes together he told me point blankly, "What is mine is yours! If you ever you need a car, you can borrow mine!" I had never heard anything like that coming from anyone living in the old country!

But he wasn't from Europe. He was from the island of Tahiti, the island renowned for its friendly people, celebrated for its hospitality, and famous for the eagerness of its people to serve without even thinking of compensation!

My Tahitian friend kept his promise. Whenever I needed to go to town and he found out about it, I found myself with a pair of car keys dangling from my fingers.

Not only this, but this man cared for me like a father would have done. He was an older gentleman, married to a lovely lady, and his children were about my age. They had all come to France with him to show their support for his studies. How many delicious dinners did I not enjoy in their company!

One day I woke up with a painful kink in my upper back. He noticed in class that I was in pain. He told me, "Come to my apartment after class!" When I complied, he proceeded to massage the kink in my back for hours, until it was completely gone.

I have never met anyone else like him. He taught me what true giving means. Time was unimportant to him, as long as he could help others. He was truly rich in God's eyes!

TeAmo (that was his name), you have been a wonderful teacher to me!

But what about us? Would we be willing to lend our car like that? Are we ready to put the needs of others first?

"I am rich! Truly rich! I can't believe it!"

The question we need to ask is this: Rich according to whose standards?

Rob Chaffart

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