Your Life is Extravagant
I currently live in the richest country in the world (per capita) so I have had the opportunity to observe extravagance in a way I never imagined. Spending millions of dollars for a specific phone number, or purchasing a gold-plated iPhone for your child are not things I can relate to. I make a fraction of what some others make and can’t imagine justifying those costs.
But here’s the thing, within this same country there are foreign workers brought in from developing countries who make a fraction of what I make. Spending a thousand dollars on a new iPhone or thousands of dollars on a gas-guzzling Jeep are not things they can relate to. They look at my life and see extravagance. They now observe extravagance in a way they never imagined.
Almost without exception, no matter where you find yourself in life, there will always be someone way richer than you and there will always be some one way poorer than you. We get so focused on those with more than us that we forget how many people have less than us.
We like to look at those with more than us and criticize them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard comments like:
“How can they spend that much money on product x? Do you know how many people they could help with that money?!”
Why is it always someone else’s responsibility to help others? If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have spent money on things that other people can’t imagine. If I look at my life, do you know how many people I could help if I:
- Sold my Jeep and took the bus to work
- Lived in a smaller apartment and for half the rent
- Didn’t travel for holidays
Or if I did smaller things like:
- Bought fewer clothes
- Ate out at restaurants less often
We love to criticize “the rich,” but too often forget how rich we all are compared to many others in this world. If you’re reading this on a computer or phone that you own, there’s a good chance that your life would be considered to be extravagant by someone else.
It’s not a bad thing to have money and this isn’t a criticism about how we choose to spend it. But before we are critical of those we consider rich, I think it’s important for us to shift our perspective and realize that perhaps the responsibility to help others is not just on those richer than us. Maybe it’s on all of us, maybe we’re all blessed so we can be a blessing to others.