Monday, August 6, 2007

ChristianCrunch: Extreme Leverage

One thing is for sure, being born in America has put us in the position for some serious leverage. Leverage is when you use a fairly small amount of resource and turn it into some serious results.

The American dollar (though sliding lower at an increasing pace) is still powerful around the globe. When I went to Vietnam, everything was $2.

$2 moped-taxi rides across town.
$2 pedicures.
$2 massages.
$2 silk wallets.
$2 museum tickets (to the Vietnam War museum, to be exact.)

When I got into the museum, I saw something I didn’t expect. In the guest book were names from all over the world. In the Comments section was a sight that made the hair stand on the back of my neck.

“Kill all Americans.”

America deserves death.”

And on and on. This blog is not about politics and war. Let’s leave that for another time.

However, I point this out because we have used our leverage not to win over the world, but to strong-arm it. “Why do they hate us?” (how generalized is this statement?)

They don’t hate us because of our freedom. They don’t hate us because of our wealth. They hate us because we don’t leverage for good.

We don’t Loverage.

It was striking, though. No matter how much they hated us, they LOVED our monetary leverage.

Our dollar goes so far.

The statistic that says that over 1 billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day is at the same time misleading and true. Often the quote is used to extract more money. “Look at the poor [FILL IN THE BLANK.] They live on less than a dollar a day.”

This is the true. There are MANY poor people. But do you know that often times it is not JUST because they are poor that they live on less than a dollar a day? It is not that simple.

They live on less than a dollar day because they can meet their needs because they aren’t entertaining all of our American luxuries.

I stayed with an Indian family once in Chennai. They lived on less than a dollar a day.

They had running water.
They had a nice house (paid for, mind you. No debt.)
They had a chauffeur.
They had a loving family, and fed me and my two friends very well.

How do I know that they lived on less than a dollar a day? I asked them! I have been fed that line for a long time, and I wanted to know what was the truth.

That being said, I can hear the people picking up stones to lynch me.

Hear me out first. I am ALL FOR GIVING MONEY TO THE POOR. The point of this blog is to bring some gritty reality to the mix, though.

The “less than a dollar a day” phrase is used up. We’re sick and tired of hearing it. Get a new line.

The problem is that it is true. People ARE living VERY POORLY.
As Christians, what can we do? We can USE the disparity for good.

A Christian family can support a missionary family in India
for $15 a month!

Reread that line above. Now, reread it below.

An American Christian family can support a missionary family in India
for $15 a month!!!

Look, if you don’t feel you can minister here in the States, I totally understand. And if you feel that you don’t want to find a way to bring Timmy and Suzy to the missionary field, I can understand that a little bit also.

What I CAN’T understand is why we can’t find the time or money to pay someone else off to do it for us.

There are PLENTY of willing and passionate missionaries throughout the rest of the world who just don’t understand why Americans sit idly by.

They will be more than happy to receive your $15 a month to do what we are not willing to do.

Being born in America, I believe that we (Christians) have a right and duty to underwrite the move of God in the earth.

Our tax laws are written in a way that we can benefit the world by them.
Our dollar still translates to wealth in developing countries.
Our technology can help train, empower, and raise money for those in the field doing the work (usually nationals.)

We have no excuse other than ignorance and apathy for not getting on the front lines, or at the very least being a supply line for those on the front lines.

Now, am I recommending that we should simply increase our giving?
Absolutely NOT!

If that is your solution, just go back
to the remote control and switch me off.

What I am recommending is that you INCREASE YOUR AWARENESS. Visit the websites at the end of this chapter to find an organization that works for you. Give to them.

Extreme Christian Battle Plan:

Get an in-your-face experience with the need. Go there.

Book an airline ticket to somewhere in the Americas. Go with a few friends for safety or find an organization that doesn’t offer a sterile Club Med experience.

When you get there, serve until you can’t serve any more. Serve until exhaustion. Smell the filth. Smell what the rest of the world outside of our borders smells like.

Taste the often-bland food that they eat (which is WAY more healthy for you than your Whopper.) Feel yourself straining in the sun and sweat, and smile as you pass out at night.

Feel what your brothers and sisters in the rest of the world feel, and figure out how they still know how to smile. Find out their secrets to a Christian walk that is effective and loving.

Now, build relationships while you are there. Get their e-mail address. Get their phone numbers. Do whatever you can to keep a line to the reality of spreading the Gospel around the world.

When you return home, send them money through PayPal (quick and easy for both of you, if they have a bank account.) Or, write then a check. Or send them a care package once a month with money in their currency.


Having been there you will know much better what they need.
Having built a relationship you will know that your God-given resources are going to good use.
Having broken away from Americana for a while your mind will always go back there, which will take your body back there in due time.

This is reality folks. This is the power of Extreme Christian living in the area of Leveraging Finance.

Excuse Breakers (Resources):

Spirit Airlines $9 club: Go almost anywhere in the Americas for less than $30. They often have sales of roundtrip tickets for $5 each way. Just buy the ticket and work out how to make it happen as you get closer.

File for your passport today. Go to, download the application, write the check and send it off. It will take a few weeks, but with your ticket that you bought with Spirit Airlines, you may get preferential treatment. Once this is in hand, you will have knocked down this obstacle.

Visit to review any of the organizations you considered giving to. This site will rate their responsibility with money.

If you would like to hear more on how to live an Extreme Christian life, living the adventure of giving back, go to my website and sign up to reserve one of the first copies of my book on extreme christianity.

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