I, along with a number of my friends and about a gazillion other people, have been challenged by Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. I first wrote on it in August, 2010 in my post Happy 5th Anniversary to Me!!!. 6 months later, this book continues to come up in conversations with friends and family. Platt states things like…
- Today, over a billion people live (and die) in desperate poverty (less than a dollar a day).
- Close to two billion others live on less than two dollars a day.
- 30,000 children today will breathe their last breath due to either starvation or a preventable disease.
How do you and I feel about that? Do we believe it? It’s hard to make those kinds of statistics real. I just stumbled on a a new website…Global Rich List. According to their formula, if your annual income is $50,000 (US$) you are in the top 1% of the richest people in the world (yes…I said WORLD!!!). That means that out of 6,775,235,741 (that’s 6.775 BILLION!!) people in the world….you are # 59,029,289 (that’s 59 MILLION) At $125,000 (US$) it jumps to the top 1/2 percent; and you are # 29,907,929 (that’s 29.9 MILLION).
So, what are we called to do with all this money? Buy a bigger house? Buy a fancier car? The latest smart phone?? Guilty!!! I am soooo tempted now that Verizon and iPhone are working together!!! It’s getting harder and harder to hang on to my stuff; and I am getting ready to give it all away…in a reactionary way….wanting to purge myself of stuff that I feel like just weighs me down. Not to mention, I have to step over it, dust it, move it to make room for more, etc. It just makes me tired…really tired! Thankfully, Louis is slowing me down (so I don’t do something TOTALLY radical!!!) as we continue to pray through what God is calling us to do. Jumping into the deep end can be scary….so I think we will wade in. So…watch for us to have a big ole yard sale this spring. Our goal is to use the proceeds for the community. We have a small “sock fund” that we use to meet needs in the community ~ treat the kids to ice cream, pizza, or after school snacks, school supplies, Bibles, community meals, hats, gloves, and socks for those in the cold, etc.
On a more practical side…we have already been taking steps to decrease spending, out of necessity…with my corporate job ending and making a move to more community work (which has been a long time coming!). But, also out of a sense of calling…to be good stewards of what God provides us. A few examples…
- Why should we give over $100/mo. to Comcast when we watch only…maybe… an hour or 2 a week? So…we are now on the basic cable plan! It meets our needs…thanks to free programs like Hulu and inexpensive plans like Netflix!
- Got new bids on our home/car insurance and saved a TON of money there!
- Returning to coupon clipping…altho it seems they are never with me when I go to the store! Gotta work on that one!
- Louis continues to drive his ole “beater”. (I’ve called it that after it was totaled by our insurance company after it was vandalized multiple times by a neighborhood kid who acted out at us.) We want to pay cash for a new new-to-us (also known as used or previously owned) replacement. Or maybe we will continue to share the other car. I’m learning how to navigate the Richmond’s public transportation system! It’s been years since I rode the bus!
So…a lot of us are either being forced into reducing expenses due to economic downturn, or are choosing to cut back or do with less, maybe out of an urging from the Holy Spirit. What steps are you taking? What ways are you making that move? Would love to hear from some of you. Would love to hear more ideas on ways to save and ways to give more or do without.