How Rich Are You?
Bible Text: Matthew 10:42 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Matthew 10:42
How rich are you? In 30 seconds you can take inventory, seeing how you rate in comparison to the rest of the world. I’ll ask you four rather basic questions, and you can simply give a yes or no answer. Question #1: Do you own more than one pair of shoes? Not too difficult to answer judging by the display of footwear on the floor or shelf of your closet. Question #2: Do you own your own car, truck, or motorcycle? Again, not too tough when you consider the difficulty you may have finding a parking place for that second car, boat, or camper. Question #3: Do you have a choice of food each day? Last question: Do you have more than one change of undergarments?
Listen carefully to how most people in the world answer. If you answered yes to three of those four questions, you are rich compared to most of the people in our world because only one in ten people around the world can answer yes to even three of those questions.
And you think you have it tough? Yes, riches are relative. When we were living in Asia, one of our children asked, “How come we are so rich here and so poor when we go home, [meaning to the States]?”
Most of the people of the world live only a meal away from hunger. Having no refrigerator they go to the market each morning to supplement their diet of rice or beans. Shortages, storms, or famine affect them, especially the poor of the world who grow poorer each day. For them, poverty is terminal. But of course it is hard for most of us to relate to that as we look in the mirror and plan our next diet.
Riches and wealth are relative, yet no matter where you are in relationship to the rest of the world, what you have and need is intensely personal. If you are hungry, the condition of the rest of the world isn’t as important as your immediate need. If you are a single mother and your income is exhausted and you live in a large city surrounded by thousands of unfriendly strangers and no help is in sight, you are faced with a crisis of major proportions.
Bob Pearce, a man great in compassion who founded World Vision, wrote, “I have lived in Asia and seen the wretchedness and poverty and the revulsion of disease and the disgust of ignorance. I have also noticed that when you look the other way it is so much easier to pass by until you do not see it at all. The pain of suffering has been totally masked out by the little world you live in. Hunger, be it physical or spiritual–lies at our doorstep. We do not ask for it; we do not like it; but nevertheless it is there. The needs of people knock one at a time. Eventually every person must answer the question, “What am I going to do about it?”
You can, of course, say, “That’s not my problem!” and shut the needs of others from your mind; or you can say, “I can’t change everything, but I can do something about the pain at my elbow.”
Two friends were walking on a beach covered by starfish washed ashore by a high tide. The starfish were destined to die soon in the burning sun on the sandy beach. One man began picking up starfish and gently tossing them in the ocean. The friend says, “What are you doing? What difference does it make? You can’t begin to save all of them.” “True,” he said, “but it makes a difference to the ones I save.”
So is it, friend, with those you can do something about. Frankly, I don’t have all the answers, but as I have come to grips with the enormity of the problem, it’s amazing how I begin to see needs and hear the Spirit of God say, “Help, here!” or “Do something about this!” And when you do that, you do make a difference.
Resource reading: Matthew 10:37-42