By Gary Skeen
Each year as I contemplate Thanksgiving, and sit down to write my Thanksgiving message to you, I first think about the vast wealth we all enjoy. We do not seem to understand or appreciate our circumstances.
I think this is because we do not talk about and it is not the news we hear – real or fake. We constantly hear about the disasters that are burning up the national budget: the national debt and the limit we have imposed upon that amount and the mountainous value of student debt that is accumulating.
As President of CBF’s Church Benefits, it concerns me that most folks are not preparing for retirement or even have an emergency savings fund. Even the wealthy in our country do not think they are rich. A few years ago, when investors with $1 to $5 million in securities were asked in a survey if they were wealthy only 28% said yes.
But I recently read an illustration that put financial wealth into perspective and I suspect if I ask everyone who reads this article that same kind of question, you might perceive wealth differently.
The question is: Do you consider yourself to be world-class rich? Most of you would say no, dismissively. But consider these questions before you dismiss the notion:
- Do you live in a house that does not have a dirt floor? Most of you would say yes, but do you realize that makes you richer than 50 percent of the world’s population?
- Does that house you live in have a window? Sixty-five percent of the houses in the world don’t.
- Do you have enough to eat? Although I know some of you may be dieting, but do you have the opportunity to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Then you are wealthier than 80 percent of the world.
None of this even considers the four billion miles of roads we get to enjoy, the public parks and libraries, and the infrastructure that allows for and enables our lifestyle.
Now let me ask again, are you world-class rich? All of you should answer yes!
Fear, anxiety and focusing on our lack of perspective about our situation comes from our thinking and worldly inputs. Gratitude, along with appreciation, humility and generosity comes from God speaking from within our heart.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, think about the vast blessings form which we benefit, our own families, our church communities and God’s creation around each of us. Let your thanksgiving be an extension of your heart!