Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughtful Spending

This past weekend at Rock Harbor, Mike Erre really challenged us all to think twice before spending money. Erre was daring as he did a little silent hinting towards what's happening in the US today in regards to taxes, and then he challenged us all with some haunting statistics.

After these statistics were said and done, I felt so uncomfortably convicted, that I just wanted to vomit. I was especially convicted because I preach a lot of these stats, but don't always live it. With that said, these stats are hard to look at, and should be addressed within ones own heart, but it should also be understood that our western minds might take longer to really change the ways we live, and that's okay... just as long as we (Christians) begin to recognize that something has to change. We shouldn't be the ones standing alongside the people at Walmart racing, and literally KILLING people, to get the new video game system... we should be/look different. 

/////////////////////// All stats taken from Erre's notes - see more here

The United States constitutes 6% of the world’s population

The United States consumes 40-50% of the world’s resources

Only 8% of the world’s population has a car

1.2 billion people live on 23 cents a day

55% of the world lives on less than $2 a day

Average American lives on $105 a day

40% of the world lacks basic sanitation 

1.2 billion people don’t have clean drinking water

Every 15 seconds a child dies from waterbourne illness

Americans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water per year

800 million people will not eat today; 300 million of those are kids

25,000 people die per day from hunger related causes

Every 3 seconds someone dies of hunger

Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world does on ALL

2 billion people in the world have no electricity

1% of people in the world own a computer

1% of people in the world have a college education

Basic education for all - $6 billion

Water and sanitation for all - $9 billion

Basic health and nutrition for all - $13 billion

Annual expenditure for cosmetics in the United States - $8 billion

Annual expenditure for ice cream in the United States - $20 billion 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> do.the.math


Materialism is the #1 reason that I hate celebrating Christmas. 

Everyone gets SO wrapped up (no pun intended) in the gift giving, that they completely fail to (1) Realize what Christmas is actually celebrating, and (2) Being thankful for the family and friends around them. 

I am working right now alongside people who are picking up extra shifts, and staying for 24 hour shifts, while just making themselves crazy to earn extra money to buy Christmas presents. The whole thing is out of control. What else could we possibly need? 

I look at my life - the clothes in my closet, the car in the parking lot, the roof over my head, the food in the pantry, the warm bed to sleep on, the computer to type with, the TV to watch, the roomies to talk to, the cell phone to be connected to the world... *sigh*... ALL of these things. I am incredibly blessed, and I don't need anything else. I don't need it. 

So before you shop this Friday, I hope that you would think of alternate gift ideas for this holiday season. Whether it's something homemade, a nice letter, or a special gift from the World Vision Catalog, make this year less about you, and more about the people who actually need "things" to survive another day. 


Kyle Fox said...

Indeed Carrie-
It is interesting to keep myself in perspective by realizing how much of my stuff that keep me "rich" is the stuff of modernism. Even looking at your list with things like cars, sanitation, electricity, those are all a result of modernism, something that I know has is up and downsides. Those modernistic things are SO fleeting, yet we drive to keep them and desire everyone to have them.
Its also important to remember those that are poor in the knowledge of Jesus. There are so many that don't know him.

Carrie said...

Kyle - love what you have to say!

You made me realize that I forgot to hit home with the point that American Christians need to realize that WE ARE the RICH people Jesus is talking about in the Bible.

55% of the world lives on $2 a day, while the average American is living on $105 a day (this averaging out your rent, car expenses, food, clothes you bought that month, etc.).

In averaging out my paychecks, a low estimate for me would be around $50 a day. And I am always complaining about how much money I don't have.

We must read those scriptures about the rich, and take a good look at ourselves.