It’s all relative really. Money, I mean.
Whether you’re rich or not so rich or just managing or poor depends so much on what others are getting.
So we had the bankers’ bonuses. Then that guy last week who gave millions away to his staff. And this week – Greece.
What do you choose to do when it appears that other people are doing OK and you are faced with a reduction of – say – 20% in your living standards? In reality, in some cases – in Greece, that’s going to be more like 33%.
Well, judging from what we see on television of burning buildings and wrecked businesses, you get very angry – and probably end up making everything twice as bad.
It’s the perceived unfairness of wealth distribution that gets people. ‘Why should he have that when I’ve got this – and even this is getting smaller?’
It is difficult. Many of us who are lucky enough to have a pension to look forward to, have seen both the size and the certainty of what we’ll get reduced. ‘Defined benefits’ are replaced by ‘defined contributions’, meaning that we used to know what we’d get. Now we only know what we pay.
So, how should we choose to respond?
We can complain – but God says ‘Don’t grumble.’ We can get bitter – but God says ‘Don’t let any resentment get a grip on you.’ We can become violent and destroy things – but God says, ‘It’s OK to be angry (especially about injustice) but don’t step into doing wrong as a result.’
Any other options?
God is our real father. He is ready and willing to provide for us. Not everything that we want but certainly what we need. He simply says ‘Trust me.’
Having been brought up to look to the bottom line, I found being out of a job –some years ago – really hard. I looked towards the end of the month not as ‘paycheck day’ but as ‘unpayable bill’ day.
But the day when I couldn’t pay those bills never came. God taught me – through not being able to rely on steady income – to rely on him. For every one of the eighteen months I was in that position, he provided. Sometimes gifts – cash, food, clothes. Sometimes finding the bills way smaller than I expected. Housing, children support, transport - everything
Don’t ask me how it worked. But it did.
And I realised that the size of the need wasn’t dependent on what I had but on what he had – which was always enough.
So I couldn’t have told you whether I was relatively poor or not. My heavenly father always had enough.
In a funny sort of way, since I’ve gone back to a waged existence it’s been harder. Now I can choose to look to what I’ve got rather than what God’s got.
Relatively, that’s a bad choice.
By Nigel O’Dwyer, he lives, works and gets paid in Worthing.