I’ve been reading a book recently recommended to me by Marv Baldwin, the President and CEO of Foods Resource Bank. That of course is the organization that we partner with to do our Growing Project. Walking with folks as partners and not reaching out to them as superiors is the main thrust of the book. I’ve learned a lot.
I was shocked to learn that the average North American lives on $90 a day. I knew the figure would be high but I never dreamt it would be that high. 800,000,000 folks live on a $1 a day in our world.
I think of that disparity often when I open my wallet. The cost of a meal out is never, ever, ever $1. When I check out at the box store, the bill is never, ever, ever $1. When I order a new shirt on line, the cost is never, ever, ever, $1. When I fill up with gas, the cost is never, ever, ever, $1.
I don’t say all of that to be a guilt mongerer, though there is a place in our lives for appropriate guilt and we are moved to act at times by appropriate guilt. But I do say all of that so that we will all ponder what it means to live as a person of faith in a world with such inequality.
If my calling as a person of faith is to love my neighbor, with heart, soul, mind and strength, and my neighbor is anyone in need, then I feel called to love even neighbors on the other side of the world, whose names I do not know but whose life is lived on $1 a day. To this I think Jesus calls us. Have we heard the call?
I recently made a new commitment. I guess some would say that it is silly. That’s O.K. I’m still going to do it. I’m going to have a dollar bill in my wallet at all times. It is a reminder to me of what 1/6th of our world lives on today. I need that reminder. It reminds me how important it is, to buy an acre in the growing project for $250. It reminds me how important it is to walk in the CROP walk. It reminds me how important it is to bring food on food pantry Sunday. It reminds me how important it is keep an eye on my own lifestyle choices. Lives are at stake. It’s how we love our neighbors, for Jesus sake. Will you join me in opening your wallet to see that dollar bill? Will you join me in remembering, and then acting?