Summary: Most of us do not have any idea of how the privileged in our society live. Jesus, in this Beatitude tells us that we can live the life of the privileged.
(Sermon #3 of Sermon On the Mount Series)
Parkview Church of the Nazarene
J. Richard Lord, Jr.
Living The Life Of The Privileged
I don’t think I know anybody that has been born into privilege. There might be some of you that has met someone in your life that you could say has never had to worry about money. Someone whose means of monetary support go beyond our normal middle class existence. Someone whose life is not consumed with the need to make a living. Someone whose bank account balances contain so many numbers that you don’t have enough space in a normal wallet size check register to write it down.
They own the huge mansions that everybody drives by and gawks at. They eat in the finest restaurants. They own cars that cost more than most of our homes.
You will never see them in Wal-Mart or Winn-Dixie. They shop only in the most exclusive places. They have a summer home and a winter home. While we vacation at grandma’s, they vacation in Europe. They can have anything they want, any time they want.
It is hard for you and I to imagine what it would be like to have been raised in the life of the privileged. Much of our life experience has dealt with this one phrase: “We can’t afford it.” Our existence is determined by our means. And that is determined by our skills and placement as a worker.
There are some of us, who by the grace of God and some talent, have discovered a way to make a living that brings in a little more income than the average person. This gives us the ability to have a comfortable lifestyle, a relatively nice home and a easy retirement.
For most of us, this is all we could ask for. Most of us truly don’t have any idea what it would be like to live a life of privilege. We just want to be comfortable.
We describe the privileged as people who “have it all.” They seem to own the world. We just work for them. Indeed, sometimes they do seem to act as if the world does belong to them.
They are a different breed of people. I don’t mean genetically, but psychologically. Having been raised in the culture of the privileged, they have a different point of view than the rest of us.
1) Having wealth is ordinary. You and I might dream of what excitement wealth would bring to our lives. We think of the houses and cars, and the trips we would make. We dream of being debt free and of buying anything we want. We even think of how just our tithe alone might give our church the ability strike out in some sort of new ministry. (You do think about that, don’t you?)
But the privileged don’t think that at all. They see their status as ordinary, normal. In fact, they can’t imagine living any other way. Just as we might see a bum living on the street and say, “I just can’t imagine living that way,” they say the same about us. They can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in our condition. The idea horrifies them.
2) They are accustomed to the power wealth brings. People of privilege have people who cater to them. They are accustomed to being treated with deference. People say, “Yes, sir” and “No. sir” to them. We might call each other by our first names, but average people refer to the privileged as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Miss.”
People of privilege are accustomed to having their wishes fulfilled. Statesmen and other powerful people listen to what they have to say, and they have great influence on other people of power, whereas you and I most times would not even be able to get our foot in the door.
3) They are accustomed to having the best life has to offer. As I mentioned before, you won’t see these folk in Wal-Mart. When they purchase something, it will the be finest example of that article. We look for the best value, they look for the best quality. When we buy a watch, for example, we buy Timex’s; they buy Rolex’s. We buy Chevrolet’s, they buy Rolls Royce’s.
When it comes to education, we go to community college and state college, they go to Harvard, Yale or Princeton.
They cannot accept second rate. They demand the best quality of any product or service. You and I might settle for something off-brand and cheap, if it serves our purposes. We are always looking for bargains. We choose a product or service based on cost, with the best quality we can manage. They look to quality alone, because cost is no problem.