I've been trying to upgrade my phone recently as my contract is due for renewal, and so have been trying to get an i-phone 4 this week, without much success. Due to demand it may be a while before I obtain my i-phone 4. But during the week I was getting a bit annoyed as I'd waited a long time for this and now would have to wait probably another month. I even posted something in this vein on Facebook.
But then I saw Chairs, a short, 2 minute film by Rob Bell on issues of global poverty, social justice, providing - using the chairs - some very challenging statistics about the realities of what's going on in this world.
I can't embed it for some reason but click on the link below right, above or just here and watch it.
Just watch it first, then come back here.
Okay, done? Challenging wasn't it? Some absolutely shocking statistics there.
I saw that video, looked back at my status on Facebook - and the response to it - and felt sick. I felt so ashamed, humbled and challenged.
There are 1 billion in the world who don't have clean drinking water,
800 million people who will go to bed hungry tonight
2 billion who survive on 2 US dollars per day
1 billion children in poverty
and I'm worried about whether I have the latest I-phone?
I may not be, in our culture, seen as one of the richest people in the world. But in comparison to most people in the world, I'm rich. Its that simple. Instead of moaning about what I don't have I should be thankful and humbled by what I do have, and be using what I have and what I've been given to make a difference to those who don't. I've got no right to moan about not getting the latest i-phone - or any 'latest thing', when I want it. There might be things going on in my life - we all have issues we need to face up to, real problems we need to deal with, of course we do, and this doesn't devalue those.
But we need to get some perspective. Lets get upset about things that matter and do something about it.
One other thing. Did you notice it?
He didn't mention God, Jesus or Christianity at all. Not once.
Because these problems and the need to deal with them, aren't just a problem for Christians, these are issues for us all. None of us should be feeling comfortable at these statistics. Whatever we agree or disagree on, you cannot help but be challenged by these statistics. Either we can sink into apathy and just ignore it, we can take a poor attitude and blame it all on them, or we can do something about it, even in our own relatively small way. We don't all have to go out there and do big things, but we can change the little decisions we make and take these things into consideration. We can start to look at the world differently, and take responsibility for those in need, and keep that perspective when we get a gripe about something that probably isn't important.
One of the best lines in the whole film, and where I will finish here, is at the end when he's just gone through these statistics and issues, then immediately says something which sums it all up and should make us sit up and take notice:
"Now I don't know your worldview, I don't know your perspective, your background or your religion...
..but that is not right"