Perspective

Perspective

Those of us who live in the developed west have such a skewed view of the world and its reality. I find lists like this to be extremely helpful in seeing things more the way God does, than our own national interests ever let us do.

If you could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, there would be:

  • 57 Asians

  • 21 Europeans

  • 14 from the Western Hemisphere

  • 8 African

  • 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

  • 80 would live in substandard housing

  • 70 would be unable to read

  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition

  • 1 would be near death

  • 1 would be near birth

  • 1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

  • 1 would own a computer

One of the things that astounded me while touring the Apartheid Museum in South Africa was how 20% of the population could actively discriminate and oppress the other 80% in their own land. They had all the wealth, health care and benefits while people across the street had virtually nothing.

Look at these statistics again. How is that not true now of those of us who have adequate (dare we say abundant) housing, education and health care? How would God have us live financially in a world so devastated by need and where resources are distributed so unfairly? What are our responsibilities help others who do not have the advantages we do? Surely our world is horribly out of synch with the heart of the Creator, and what a great day it will be when he comes to set right all that has tormented the people he loves.

I know this is an uncomfortable perspective for us (see yesterday’s blog), but sometimes that’s good exactly what will bring us perspective. I don’t share it to provoke guilt, which would be worthless anyway. But in view of all that the Scriptures teach about looking out for the poor and oppressed, this might be a perspective we desperately need as we pray and listen to Father’s heart and see how he would have us to live in the world with generosity toward others.

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6 Comments
  1. kent November 9, 2005 at 6:34 pm

    Wayne, with the possibility of it seeming to you that I am stuck on U2 references, I logged on to your blog and saw this entry and had to respond with this question. I had just finished listening to the song "Where The Streets Have No Name" before coming to the computer and had just been asking myself while listening, how we in the church have missed the message of equality? The song was written after Bono and his wife had returned from a trip to Africa. It clearly is a reference to Eternity when all things are set right but it is also a cry of ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN now. You can tell alot of the time a persons economic position based upon the name of the street they live on. Bono was wanting to see that truth erased. The cry of this song is for equality. When performing this live he always starts it with this prayer, Psalm 116:12-14 (The Message)

    12What can I give back to GOD

    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

    13I’ll lift high the cup of salvation–a toast to GOD!

    I’ll pray in the name of GOD;

    14I’ll complete what I promised GOD I’d do,

    and I’ll do it together with his people.

    It always makes me think of Paul’s intruction to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians chapter 8: 1-15

  2. kent November 9, 2005 at 9:34 pm

    Wayne, with the possibility of it seeming to you that I am stuck on U2 references, I logged on to your blog and saw this entry and had to respond with this question. I had just finished listening to the song "Where The Streets Have No Name" before coming to the computer and had just been asking myself while listening, how we in the church have missed the message of equality? The song was written after Bono and his wife had returned from a trip to Africa. It clearly is a reference to Eternity when all things are set right but it is also a cry of ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN now. You can tell alot of the time a persons economic position based upon the name of the street they live on. Bono was wanting to see that truth erased. The cry of this song is for equality. When performing this live he always starts it with this prayer, Psalm 116:12-14 (The Message)

    12What can I give back to GOD

    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

    13I’ll lift high the cup of salvation–a toast to GOD!

    I’ll pray in the name of GOD;

    14I’ll complete what I promised GOD I’d do,

    and I’ll do it together with his people.

    It always makes me think of Paul’s intruction to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians chapter 8: 1-15

  3. Kevin Tupper November 10, 2005 at 6:58 am

    Amen.

    For anyone wanting to see some of the raw data behind some of these numbers, this is a good Web site.

    http://www.xist.org/index.php

    – Kevin

  4. Kevin Tupper November 10, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Amen.

    For anyone wanting to see some of the raw data behind some of these numbers, this is a good Web site.

    http://www.xist.org/index.php

    – Kevin

  5. Ralph Storey November 11, 2005 at 10:04 am

    Wayne, The data you presented exposes a hugely complex set of problems, underlined by the fact that we live in a fallen world. To us the answer is simple: Jesus is the answer, a view not shared by the majority of the world’s population, or even by most of the movers and shakers here in the US.

    Personally, I am but two generations removed from griinding poverty and the acompanying disadvantages, as are most of us. Why I (we) should be in the relatively comfortable position I am, I have no answer.

    I do know, that during the past few years, I have been drawn back to the Gospels, paticularly, the sermon on the mount, the parables, and the farewell discourses, and especially, Jesus’ command, "Follow me."

    Your book, "He Loves Me," has been a great help, also. I recomend it highly.

    For a more detailed perspective on some of the world’s problems, I recommend Thomas Sowell’s (a black man)

    writings on slavery, affirmative action, economic theory, etc. These books read more like textbooks, but I think are worth the effort. Also, John White’s book, "If Money isn’t God, Why is the Church Worshiping It?" is a good one to check out.

    As to a practical way of following Jesus, when you see a need you can solve, be it with time, talent, or money, do it.

    Ralph

  6. Ralph Storey November 11, 2005 at 1:04 pm

    Wayne, The data you presented exposes a hugely complex set of problems, underlined by the fact that we live in a fallen world. To us the answer is simple: Jesus is the answer, a view not shared by the majority of the world’s population, or even by most of the movers and shakers here in the US.

    Personally, I am but two generations removed from griinding poverty and the acompanying disadvantages, as are most of us. Why I (we) should be in the relatively comfortable position I am, I have no answer.

    I do know, that during the past few years, I have been drawn back to the Gospels, paticularly, the sermon on the mount, the parables, and the farewell discourses, and especially, Jesus’ command, "Follow me."

    Your book, "He Loves Me," has been a great help, also. I recomend it highly.

    For a more detailed perspective on some of the world’s problems, I recommend Thomas Sowell’s (a black man)

    writings on slavery, affirmative action, economic theory, etc. These books read more like textbooks, but I think are worth the effort. Also, John White’s book, "If Money isn’t God, Why is the Church Worshiping It?" is a good one to check out.

    As to a practical way of following Jesus, when you see a need you can solve, be it with time, talent, or money, do it.

    Ralph

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