You Are Rich.

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“Yes, we’re doing well but we’re not rich or anything like that.”

This is a common attitude (whether spoken or unspoken) that I have picked up on in the western world. No one ever really accepts that they are rich. Or doesn’t want to believe it. There will always be those who are wealthier than we are. There will always be a better house, a newer vehicle, or fancier shoes that we could own. There will always be a salary that is larger than our current one. A cool trip we wish we could afford to go on. To be fair, rich is a very subjective word.

However, as a western society there seems to be a ubiquitous recognition that most of us are privileged.

Blessed. Lucky. Fortunate.

The other day I had a day off. (Thankfully I do not have to work 7 days a week to survive!) And on this day off I went to the doctor and received medical attention without paying anything. Then I went to a bank to activate a credit card. At the bank, not only was there no charge, but I was welcomed with a free cup of coffee and a cookie. I then had a leisurely time in a beautiful park.

I am rich.

I would like to go a step further and say that you too are rich. I don’t just mean  emotionally “rich” with wonderful family and friends as commonly spoken around the Thanksgiving table. I mean materially rich. Wealthy. Prosperous. I’m speaking in terms of hard cash money. I earn minimum wage and live under my parent’s roof, and I am rich.

If I were to work 35 hours a week for 49 weeks of the year at McDonalds earning minimum wage (11.25 Canadian dollars per hour in my province) I would earn about $19,294 a year. According to the global rich list  I would still be in the top 8% of the richest people in the world! To put it in different terms, the website writes that my monthly salary alone could pay the salaries of 56 doctors in Kazakhstan! It would take the average labourer in Ghana 93 years to earn what I would make in a year! May I remind you that this is from a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant working 35 hours a week!

I realize that the comparison is not as simple is that. The cost of living varies in different countries and it is not as black and white a comparison as it seems. But still, isn’t that incredibly sobering and eye-opening!?

Will you sleep in a bed tonight? Do you eat at least two meals a day? Do you have a job? Do you drive a car? Do you own a smart phone? Did you drink clean water today? Did you (or do you) go to school? Do you have access to medical attention?

You are rich.

There really is no amount of statistics or scenarios that can make that sink in. We are so easily caught up in the overwhelming pace and isolation of our day to day lives that it is easy to forget to be thankful. We are too busy and isolated to care (or even think) about someone else in great need.

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Cape Town suburb of Hout Bay next to informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu (largely made up of tin shacks.) Photo by Johnny Miller/Millefoto as part of his “Unequal Scenes” project.

It was only in the last couple months whilst living in Cape Town, South Africa (a city with vast economic inequality) that God has shown me just how privileged I have been. Every meal holds a new meaning when you can walk down the street and give your food to a person who doesn’t have any. But even there it is easy to live in an isolated bubble of privilege.

This piece was not written to condemn or bring guilt. It does not hold any new, profound thought. However, it is often the simple things that we forget.

You and I are rich.

May we use our wealth to bless others and love our neighbours (both locally and internationally) as ourselves. May we be thankful for our lives and driven into action. May we use our fortune to love with the never ending love of God.

See How Rich You Are…

Click Here: The Global Rich List

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