“I agree that income disparity is the great issue of our time. It is even broader and more difficult than the civil rights issues of the 1960’s. The ’99 percent’ is not just a slogan. The disparity in income has left the middle class with lowered, not rising income, and the poor unable to reach the middle class.”
–Eleanor Holmes Norton (U.S. Representative, Washington, DC)
Here’s an issue that’s rarely discussed in church (or in other circles for that matter). DISPARITY means a great difference. It is the opposite of PARITY – the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay. I was asked today why I’ve been engaged for so long in helping people out of poverty. I discussed my sadness and frustration at the economic disparities of race and gender in America. The graphic to the right depicts the vast gap that exists as it pertains to African-Americans. It is estimated that it will take 228 years for the average black family to build the wealth of an average White family. Video and Article Here Latino wealth was also at just $14,000. Another good article on this here: PEW RESEARCH ON RACE AND GENDER DISPARITIES
Now our Country is becoming increasingly alarmed by disparities between a small number of extremely wealthy people and the masses regardless of race. 10% of the population now holds 76% of it’s wealth. If you look globally, even the poorest American is wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Don’t believe me? SEE WHERE YOUR INCOME FITS HERE It’s no wonder the Bible transcends time speaking so much to the issue of greed, the rich and poor, and what we are to do about the kinds of disparities we see in disasters like Hurricane Harvey, but also in every day life.
Colossians 3:5 says greed is idolatry. Matthew 13:22 cautions us that the deceitfulness of riches can choke the Word of God making it unfruitful. 1 Timothy 6:3-9 warns us the teaching that godliness is a means to financial gain comes from corrupted minds. Godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it, and greed is a vice that causes a great deal of harm. “For the love of money is the root of all evil. Some people eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many griefs.” (Vs. 10) Paul gives advice about what the wealthy should do with God’s blessings:
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
This is very challenging, particularly since the world advises us to take care of us four and no more, not divesting and sharing wealth as Scripture does especially within the household of faith (Acts 2:44-46.4:32-35) So what does the LORD want YOU to do what you have and the disparities you see?
“We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens.” – Sandra Day O’Connor – Supreme