Letter to the Editor

   Written by on November 17, 2017 at 10:32 am

Success for Everyone Equally

It seems like every time we turn on the news, read an article or watch something on television there is a recurring theme that more and more frequently comes up – a certain group of people enjoy a “privilege” that gives them advantage over at least one other group. As I try to look at my own life and determine, “Am I one of the privileged, or am I one who lacks the advantages others seem to have?” I am sure that others would be quick to put me in one category or another simply by the color of my skin. Maybe it is true or maybe it is not.  But an attempt at reason would suggest that we consider what criteria make a person more privileged than another, and if there is a way to equalize success.

I saw someone attempt to illustrate “privilege” with an example of a foot race for a $100 bill. It went something like this: A large number of what looked like Millennials were at a starting line. The event director explained that everyone would race to win $100.  However, it was not a simple “On your mark…get set…go!” Before the start he gave a few more instructions: “If you have both parents living together at home, take two steps forward.”  “If you have never wondered where your next meal would come from, take two steps forward.” “If you have never worried about your cell phone being turned off, take two steps forward.”  A few more similar questions were asked until finally the event director said the race was about to start, but first everyone who had taken steps were to look behind to notice the ones who moved only a little or not at all. He made his point that some have “privilege” indicated by their steps forward.  He also offered the notion that their opportunity to move steps forward may have had nothing to do with anything they had personally done, but nevertheless, they were still “privileged” which gave them an advantage for “success” – a $100 bill.

I get it!  If we are talking about earning wealth, there are certainly many people who are in a better position to acquire education and employment with a promise for a so-called “successful” life. But if wealth was the sole determining factor, then as we learned a few years ago, the successful (wealthy) people occupy the top 1%. “The average annual income of the top one percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000.” (www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/03/21/average-america-vs-the-one-percent)  That means the rest of us (including the perceived “privileged”) are comparably unsuccessful to put it mildly or a failure to put it less mildly. We are all still standing at the starting line.

Thankfully, there is a better measure of success which is the great equalizer. Mark asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” [8:36] Jesus gave the perfect perspective in Luke 12:19-20, ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?”  Peter confirms where real hope lies: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” [1 Peter 1:18-21]

Privilege, wealth, success …they are all measured by worldly standards that do not matter in the eons of time that follow this brief living experience. What truly matters is what we value most.  God sent Jesus to show us love like the world has never seen.  He came to give his life for a ransom (wealth) for you and I, that whoever would believe on Him would be rescued from a world that operates on self-promotion rather than grace found in a loving Creator.  The great equalizer is the condition of our soul when we stand before God. For those who find hope in Jesus Christ there is no special privilege…no earthly wealth that compares. Success is found with a promise in eternity with a loving God who loves us all the equally and the same.  With God, through Christ, we can all be successful together – forever.

Pastor Robert Perrin

Grace Community Church

Charlotte Court House, Va


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