I made just over CDN$57,000 in 2010. Out of curiosity I typed that into the calculator on globalrichlist, where to you think I landed?
I thought maybe top 25% but boy was I wrong! It was interesting to see that I am approximately the 58 millionth richest person in the world. Not so impressive until you put in on the scale of just under 7 billion people. With that in mind I’m in the top 0.97% of global income!
That’s not a typo!
I made more money in 2010 that 99.03% of the rest of the people on the entire planet!
That got me thinking. If 1.4 billion people are surviving on less than $1 per day ($365 per year) what would it look like for them and for me if I intentionally lowered my income to help raise theirs? A person living on CDN$365 per year falls in the bottom 8% of global wealth. What if they had $730? They would leap-frog over an addition 1.5 billon people and rise 26% from the bottom 8% to the bottom 34%. That’s what.
What about me? By lowering my income by the same margin my position on the global scale dropped by less than 0.01%. It didn’t even register on the two decimal place display on the Global Rich List! That got me thinking again, how much of a personal sacrifice would it take to lower my position by even 0.01% and how much of an impact could that have on someone living on less than $1 per day?
I had to lower my income by $1100 to drop my position on the scale about one tenth of one percent. And what does adding that same amount to the poorest of the poor do? CDN$1465 per year ($365 + $1100) puts you in the TOP 31% of the world’s wealth!
That is astonishing to me. Let me put in another way so you can understand.
By lower my position on the global wealth meter by just 0.01% I can raise the position of one of the world’s poorest people by a whopping 61% and move them into the top half – no the top 3rd, of the world’s wealth!
A few months ago I wrote a few posts where I tried to get you thinking in terms of living a more charitable life. As anticipated I got some push back. A lot of you claimed that small amounts of philanthropy don’t have an impact. Clearly these statistics expose the lie of that argument.
According to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) one dollar a day will; provide 11 families with clean drinking water, plant 6 life giving and income generating fruit trees, put a roof on 3 homes or send a child to school for a year. We – the top few percent of the world’s wealth – can do this without noticeably changing our own position.
Not only can we do it. We must.
It is the single most repeated command in all of scripture, both Old and New Testament. Over 3000 times in fact the bible tells us in one way or another to help the poor. God’s strongest condemnations and most violent destruction are reserved not for those who reject Him but for those who refuse to share their wealth.
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy [Ezekiel 16:49]
This is going to be hard for some of my Christian friends to swallow but God is more concerned with how we treat the poor and needy around us than how we treat Him! The clear fact is that He will punish greedy Christians more severely than generous Atheists!
Think about that for a minute.
We all know what happened to Sodom. But the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, it was greed! As one of the top 1% of the wealthiest people on earth, that’s me! And I dare say it’s you.
How you spend just $1, is a life and death decision. Not only for the poorest of the poor but for you too. Small amounts of philanthropy save lives – maybe even your own.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. [Isaiah 1:17]
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. [James 1:27]
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8]