When a fish is in the water do you think it knows it?
A fish probably doesn’t have a clue that it’s surrounded by water, swimming around, until it gets taken out of the water. Then it is sure to be fully aware that it is somewhere unfamiliar that it may not have even known existed.
We, Americans, are fish in water when it comes to our wealth. We live in comfort, surrounded by money and we don’t even know it. Look around you. Where are you? I am sitting in a computer lab at Azusa Pacific University typing on a computer. I am surrounded by thousands of dollars of computer equipment, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in architecture, and millions of dollars worth in tuition money and I rarely stop to think about it. Outside the walls of the building I am sitting in, there is a million dollar “prayer tower” (I’ve come to call it “the tower of Babel”) being constructed. There are millions of dollars worth in other fancy decorations covering the school, including huge white pillars that line the driveway entrance to the school. There is a parking lot filled with cars (and I should mention here that most of the world hasn’t even driven a car). I don’t even want to begin to try to add up all the money that surrounds me as I sit casually in this very familiar place.
As I sit here in my ocean of money without knowing it, most of the world knows that I am in this ocean and they are not. Most of the world would see this school as a palace; they’d see this place in which I am sitting casually, as a foreign reality far from their reach. Many of them don’t even know where their next meal is coming from…. Yet, here am I.
The problem isn’t necessarily that I am a fish. The problem isn’t necessarily just that I am in a sea of money and comfort. The problem is that I don’t even know my neighbor who is not in the water. I don’t even think about how fortunate I am. I don’t even think about how spoiled I am, I don’t even know the names of the people outside of the wealth.
The biggest problem in America isn’t that the rich are rich and the poor are poor. The problem is that they don’t even know each other. The rich, who have the power to help the poor, don’t even know the poor. And they don’t even fathom what it’s like outside the sea of wealth.
We have the power to give. What if we are withholding good from those who deserve it?
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” _Proverbs 3:27