Americans — black, white, brown, red, and yellow — are a selfish people. (Yes, I include myself in that number.) It’s part of being American, isn’t it? “America — where it’s all about us and how great we are and let’s intervene in all the world’s drama because they need us.” I think that would serve us as a good tagline, no?
Now before folks go and label me (because that’s another thing Americans love to do) as unpatriotic, let me just say that I do enjoy, perhaps even love, America. But too often we’re so focused on us, either personally, or nationally, that we lose focus of what the rest of the world truly looks like.
I was sitting in my Global Issues class and the professor gave us some statistics that have been sitting with me all day. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way where I couldn’t help but wonder if people knew what their world really looks like.The example given was this:
If you took the population of the world and turned it into a village of 100 people, keeping all the ratios the same (but obviously rounding them off because you can’t have half a person) you would find a village with 58 Asians, 20 Europeans, 14 North & South Americans, and 8 Africans. 71 of the villagers would be people of color, and 29 would be white. Religiously, you would have 27 Christians, 25 Muslims, 18 Hindus, and 30 people practicing other religions, or perhaps no religion at all.
Nothing that’s too shocking or surprising yet, right? Think about this:
Out of those 100 villagers, 6 would hold 50% of the village’s wealth, leaving the other 50% in the hands of the 94 others. 65 villagers would be illiterate, and 55 would be malnourished (not all on the same level, but malnourished nonetheless). 80 people would live in substandard housing.
And perhaps most shockingly, out of those 100 villagers, only one — only a single individual — would have a college education.
You now know the true state of the world in which we are a part. And now that you know, you’re accountable for whether or not you do something. We have to move beyond being concerned about paying our bills and our credit cards and our debt and instead start thinking about how we can pay someone else’s bills. I’m sorry to report: your life is not about you. It’s not for you. It’s bigger than you. Your life was designed, by God, to be used to reach, empower, and impact the world for His glory.
I’m not saying to go out and solve world hungry or educate all the illiterate. (But if you can, great, more power to you.) Instead, I’m challenging you (as well as myself) to think about the ways you can make a difference. You alone, heck, the United States by itself couldn’t come close to solving some of these issues. But it’s not about a government, or an organization making the changes and solving the problems; it’s about people empowering one another. And when one empowers another, and they empower another, and they empower another, before you know it, your reach has been exponentially increased far beyond what you could have done by yourself.
Before you empower someone else, you must first be empowered, knowing your purpose and walking confidently in the direct God has for you. How can you jump a car with two dead batteries? It starts at home, with you. A wise man once said, “If you want to make the world, a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change.”
As you look at yourself in the mirror, find yourself in that village. Where are you? Chances are good that you’re more blessed than you thought you were. Do you have a college education? If so, you’re already in the 99th percentile. If not, do you have food, adequate shelter? Can you read? Do you own anything? Even if you don’t have a college education, you’re still well in the majority in more than a few areas.
Mark Twain said: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”
So what will you do?