Nov 9, 2008

Luxury or Necessity?

I've been reading a book called Hope Lives (by Amber Van Schooneveld) as part of a study group with some Compassion friends. Last night Amber compared the rich to the poor and discussed how in the US, our per capita is roughly around $37,000 while India's is $530 and Ethiopia's is $90. With the economy in shambles right now a lot of people are feeling their purse strings tighten. Mine included. I am not necessarily feeling it but I am conscious of what I'm spending more so than I was before. At any rate, when you look at global figures, just living in the US inflates your wealth by a ton.

When we look at how much money we spend helping others, how much does it really total. How much are we really giving to people who are less fortunate than us -- are we without? do we spend unnecessary cash? have we reclassified our luxuries into necessities?

Lately I've been trying not to eat out. It's hard as a single person. Cooking for one is easy to do but leftovers are only good for so long and let's just face it, no one wants to eat the same thing day after day. In a typical week I probably pick up food at least 5 times. Working two jobs makes it hard to find time to make much of anything at home. But when I read last night's section of the book and really thought about necessity, I've decided to stop eating out as an excuse. It truly is a luxury and I could take more steps to prepare -- after all, it's no surprise which nights I work. There is plenty of time to make something for later.

As Amber said, "I am the rich fool." I am the one who spends somewhat frivolously. It may not be on an oversized Lexus or a $800,000 house, but I do spend. I. Am. The. Rich. Fool. But I am also aware, which means I can change that. I can decide how and where to spend my money. As the Christmas season approaches I will chant this over and over. Maybe I will memorize Leviticus 27:30-32. Don't know what it says? Look it up!

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"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub