Five Minute Friday scribblings, Intentional Living

Privilege: When We Have Much

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PRIVILEGE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

PRIVILEGE

I’ve never felt so humbled as the evening I showed simple pictures of my family to the Filipino people surrounding me. We were told to bring a few pictures on the mission trip that we could share. But nothing that conveyed all that we have in this country.

So, being the scrapbooker I am, I selected a few pics of my oldest son (10 months old at the time), my hubs, and called it good.

That night people looked at my boy, but what they saw was our home. Their comment was: “Wow, you have a big house.”

Oh, the thoughts that raced through my mind. The backdrop behind my boy was dim.

I almost cried.

They had no idea that this picture was snapped in our living room. Not seen in the pictures was our dining room, kitchen, family room and the second-level with bedrooms.

They had no idea. What “normal” looks like in the United States.

And neither did I. What “normal” looks like in the Philippines.

I realized that evening how very privileged we are in the United States. Most families have at least one car. More than one bathroom in their homes. Multiple televisions. And things to call their own.

Too often, we take what we have for granted.

Privilege defined by Merriam-Webster: “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor: prerogative; especially: such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office.”

When I read tonight’s word, the thought that resonated most with me was that, compared to heaven, we are dirt poor.

And yet, Jesus left His paradise, His perfect place, to live among us. He left his “‘mansion,” so to speak, to live in a hovel.

Why?

Love.

Jesus gave up His privileged position out of love for us.

He came to a dirt-poor planet because He loved us more than His position in heaven.

How can we not choose to love those who have so much less than us?

No, I’m not saying we are all called to sell everything we own and move to Africa, though there are those who do.

What can we do from here?

What about loving through prayer?

Through giving to organizations who help those in need?

What about through finding the single parents in our communities and coming alongside them?

We don’t have to look far to find those who are much less privileged than us.

May we choose to be like Jesus and give up some of our conveniences to love others the way He does.

What about you? What have you seen that reminds you how privileged you are? How are you intentional with your resources?

Click to Tweet: Jesus loved us more than His position in heaven

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Privilege

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24 thoughts on “Privilege: When We Have Much”

  1. Lovely post and pictures, Jeanne.

    I try to appreciate my privilege; I may be in really horrendous pain (like, as I write this) but I have a roof over my head, the dogs’ company, access to the world through the Internet, and most of all a wife who loves me.

    To complain at such trivia as terminal cancer strikes me as ungrateful.

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    1. Andrew, thank you for the reminder that the “simple things” a roof over our heads, internet access and companionship are privileges a lot of people don’t have. And someone who loves you no matter what? That’s a gift. I always appreciate your perspective, my friend. I continue to pray for you both.

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  2. While in Haiti in 2012 I was unloading a truck that brought corrugated metal roofing material to a building site where one room homes were being constructed for families still living in tent cities after the 2010 earthquake. A Haitian man came up and offered to help us unload. I handed him a pair of gloves so he wouldn’t cut his hands. He didn’t know what gloves were. He didn’t understand their purpose. In the midst of all that devastation and poverty, it was this man’s having never seen something as simple as a pair of gloves that really opened my eyes to just how privileged we are.

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  3. I struggle with this so much. I know I haven’t always been a good steward of what God has given me. I tend to think that I need my toys first, and then I can help other people. But that’s all turned around. I need to help other people first. If God wants me to have the ‘toys,’ he’ll make it happen.

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    1. Anita, you and me both. God has brought me back to my desire for comfort over the years. He reminds me that He doesn’t want me to focus so much on being comfortable as being obedient. He wants our holiness over our comfort. And it’s a hard one for me to remember. I like you closing line because of it’s truth: If He wants us to have “toys” He will provide them. Good words. Have a great weekend!

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  4. I know these feelings from our trip to Guatemala in 2015. I’m honored to get to go back this coming summer. You’re right that we’re privileged in so many ways, but I’m grateful for Jesus being the greatest privilege. Happy weekend, friend! xo

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    1. I imagine you must have seen a lot in Guatemala that reminded you of how privileged we in the US are. I’m so glad you are going back this summer. What a gift! I love what you said about knowing Jesus being the greatest privilege. so true! Have a great weekend yourself!

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  5. I love this, Jeanne! It’s one thing to recognize we have incredible privilege, but then what? I think Jesus showed us that living out the kingdom of God means our faith is active. I’m learning to press into care and listening because of my privilege.

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    1. Yes, Annie. It is one thing to recognize we are privileged and another thing to know what we should do with that. I agree. Jesus showed us that living out the kingdom of God here on earth looks like us acting on our faith. Thank you for that reminder. I’m learning to listen more too. Have a great weekend, friend. Stay warm!

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  6. hi jeanne:) my internet is working right…finally! seems like it works a few days and for no obvious reason, stops working! wish i understood why and what is going on with it.
    i love your post today:) it’s so true that we forget how privileged we are here in the US. going overseas is a great reality check for sure!

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    1. Martha, I’m sorry you’ve had trouble with your internet. It’s frustrating, and it’s also a first world problem. I have to remind myself of this when things aren’t working the way I expect. 🙂 I am looking forward to taking our boys overseas at some point so they can see how much they really have. And my secret hope is that they will gain a greater understanding and compassion for others.

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  7. Thank you for sharing that story, Jeanne! When I saw the cover picture, I thought, “is this in the Philippines?” I was there last year and I felt very humbled by the different realities between my and their world. Living in many different countries has definitely taught me to appreciate and share what I have.

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    1. I loved my visit to the Philippines, Katha. How amazing that you lived there. The first picture was probably taken in Manila. Or it could have been Dumaguete. Can’t remember now.

      You’ve been blessed to live in so many different countries. May we all appreciate and share what we have.

      So glad you stopped by!

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