In July of 1998, consumer watchdog Ralph Nader published an "open letter" to billionaire Bill Gates. In it he points out Mr. Gates' immense wealth in comparison to almost every other living being on the planet. The letter begins:
Dear Mr. Gates:
An astonishing calculation comes from Professor Edward Wolff of New York University and presents an important opportunity for you. Professor Wolff, a wealth economics specialist, estimated that your net wealth is greater than the combined net worth of the poorest 40% of Americans (106 million people). That includes their home equity, pensions, mutual funds and 401(k) plans, but excludes their cars.
When Professor Wolff made his analysis, your net worth was only $40 billion. Now, according to the latest Forbes listing of billionaires, your assets exceed $51 billion, and that may be outdated outdated indeed ... $75 billion as of September 2013! ... So it is fair to assume that the mostly secondhand cars of these 106 million Americans can now be included and then some.
Nader went on to suggest that Gates call his good friend Warren Buffet to arrange a conference on "National and Global Wealth Disparities and What to Do About It." His hope was to enlist the help of Gates and all his billionaire buddies to draw up policies and plans to redistribute global wealth.
"With the dual sweep of the Gates-Buffett hands," Nader concluded, "the serious and consequential plight of humanity would become a matter of high alert for all those business colleagues and acquaintances of yours who aspire to move from success to significance."
No one, according to Nader, should be richer than any 100 million other people!
Regardless of our varying political positions on this issue, we can all agree that giving to the poor from a generous heart is certainly lauded in Scripture. And when it comes to the worldwide distribution of wealth, God leads the pack, far ahead of Nader, Gates, Buffet, and even Obama. Jesus--God in the flesh, King of the Universe, owner of eternity--refused to be any richer than even one other single person.
"Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8).
In that one act of selfless sacrifice, He utterly leveled the playing field and globally redistributed all the wealth of Heaven. Now ALL who believe in Him become "joint heirs" with Him (Romans 8:;17). Now ALL who believe in Him jointly own "the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10). Now ALL who believe in Him possess the very righteousness of God Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus has shown us, by His life and message, what it really means to move from success to significance!