Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving and Inequities

For those in the U.S., this Thursday is our national Thanksgiving Day.  This is the one day of the year that, officially, we stop to give thanks to God for the abundance and blessing that He has bestowed on our country.   As we approach this year’s holiday, there’s a lot of talk about inequity. 

The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters claim that 1% of our citizens are taking advantage of the 99% of the rest of the population, holding most of the wealth, not sharing or spreading the prosperity to others.  While it is true that there is a disparity in income, the purpose of Thanksgiving is not to focus on what we do not have but be thankful for what we do have, which should include all Americans.

I read recently that two-thirds of the world’s population has an average wealth per adult of less than $10,000.  About 1.1 billion of these adults hold a net worth of less than $1,000.  Even the poorest of Americans are above this poverty line.  The inequity of the rich and poor is troubling and though many of us are a long way from being a part of the 1% of those who are considered rich, this Thursday 99.9% in this country will be thankful for how good we have it.
A greater inequity of the “have’s” and the “have-not’s” are those who have heard the Good News of Christ and His salvation.  Of the 7 billion people who occupy our planet, less than a half-billion people are followers of Christ (2.1 billion people embrace Christianity as a religion, most are nominal, about 500 million claim to be evangelical).  Ninety-percent of all resources, money and time, are to those who have access to the Gospel, while less than 2% of world Christian outreach is to the 2 billion people who have never heard the name of Christ.  3.6 billion people in this world have never met a Christian.
I do not, nor ever will, understand the inequities in this world.  While Jesus said, “The poor you will have with you always,” He also said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  And, while the gap between those who have and who have not heard His Name grows wider the Great Commission remains mandate for the church to go into all the world and make disciples.
To those who have enough to eat, be thankful.  For those who are blessed to live in a community where you can learn more about Jesus, be grateful.  Hopefully, a grateful heart will prompt those blessed to be a blessing to others.