Recently I relaxed in the lobby of one of Asia’s loveliest hotels located in a country classified as “Third World.” As chauffeured Mercedes and Jaguars cruised to the entrance, the beautiful and the privileged alighted to the gracious welcome of white-gloved hotel personnel.
Later, as I was being chauffeured to the airport in an air conditioned automobile, I gazed out the window and noticed a bent over old man, cane in hand, laboring under the blaring sun as he shouldered a heavy backpack up a steep series of steps that would eventually take him across the highway upon which I was traveling.
I could not help but think, “What inequity! How unfair! Why the disparity?”
… Until I recalled Jesus’ teaching:
- “Many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” (Matthew 19:30)
- About the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: In eternity the fellow previously living in poverty and sickness on earth now enjoys heaven’s bliss with Abraham, while the rich man now languishes in Hell. (See Luke 16:19-31).
- “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,‘ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked… ” (Revelation 3:17)
As you and I enjoy His bounty in our “island” of affluence, surrounded by the world’s impoverished, it behooves us to remember that,
“From everyone who has been given much, much shall much be required… ” (Luke 12:48)
May God help us amidst our “illusion” of prosperity to maintain an eternal perspective as to the true riches, and of the responsibility that comes with privilege.