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The Truth of the Wealthy West


Written by BGU

Yesterday I was able to sit in on  Tom Shetler’s class titled Social Entrepreneurship. After one lecture, I walked out of the classroom with my mind utterly boggled to its very core. “All this time,” I thought, “and I never knew…”

I mean, I knew slightly, but I never fully knew the reality of the chasm between the West and the rest. I never truly grasped the truth until I was shown in class yesterday how stark the difference is between Americans and everyone else.

After I graduated high school I read Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, opening my eyes to the power we as Americans have. One chapter talked about how the amount of money it takes to build one church in America could build more than one hundred churches in India. On the same day I read Yohannan’s book I was taken out to a very expensive restaurant. I sat in circumspect, looking at all the lights, plates, delicacies, and decor of the building. I thought to myself, “If I could sell everything inside of this building as well as the building itself… how many churches could I build in India?” Thoughts like this still cross my mind.

Yesterday blew me away even more when Mr. Shetler, with marker in hand, drew out this pyramid:

The top of the pyramid resembles the 75-100 million people (mostly Westerners) who make a yearly salary of twenty-thousand dollars or more. Below that is the 1.75 billion people who make in between twenty-thousand to fifteen-hundred dollars per year, and below that are two other categories: those who make $1,500, and those who make less than $1,500 per year. Collectively the bottom two categories make up two-thirds of the world population; that’s around 4 billion people.

Do you see this? The majority of the earth’s population is living on hardly anything while we gulp down Mountain Dew, play with toy robots, and run on treadmills! We are a privileged, privileged minority. All these years I have been lead to believe that conditions at the bottom of this pyramid are abnormal, but by looking at the pyramid and hearing the truth, I realized that we Americans are the oddity!

Look at the pyramid and consider the fact that the majority, 4 billion people, have lives starkly different than ours. We’re like a small pocket of rich kids in the corner of a huge cafeteria. We have all our wants and needs satisfied, while the rest of the world is living a hand-to-mouth existence. It’s no wonder why Christianity is spreading like wildfire across the globe: people are in great need, hearts are tender, and spirits feeble. They need God to carry them through every day.

When talking about the Gospel, the unbeliever might say, “Christianity is for weaklings, beggars, and poor people!”

You can respond, “Oh, so you’re saying that Christianity is for most people then? Okay.”

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