Does anyone else take exception to the way that whenever there are global statistics related to standard of living in our media, New Zealand seems to be always and only compared with the OECD? [The NZ Herald published a weekload of such articles/rankings earlier this month in a special series]. It might be about house ownership, or levels of debt, or standards of health care, or levels of employment, or access to education - on and on it goes.
Now the OECD is the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Correct me if I am wrong - but is this not a collection of the wealthier countries in the world? I think so.
What I find myself doing is noting NZ's inevitably poor placement in whatever ranking is before me and responding "Woe is us".
However as a follower of Jesus I must push back at this type of thinking. The heart of God is for the entire world, the global community - not just the OECD. NZ may appear mid-to-low in endless OECD rankings - but if there were genuine global rankings available we would find ourselves way up near the top and we could only ever respond one way, again and again: "Blessed is us". We are privileged in so many ways. We have enormous wealth and health available to us by any global standard.
Here is what happens. By acknowledging that "Blessed is us" must be my starting point I find my heart is more ready to embrace the needs of those for whom "Woe is us" is really, truly the situation. Surely this is something Jesus requires of us, isn't it?