Living on $2 a day is not as simple as it sounds, although more than 3 billion people on this earth wake-up to this reality every morning. Are you willing to live on just $2 with them? For just one day?
Of course, if you look at it logically, there’s no way someone in the western world could possibly live on $2 for an entire day, unless you were willing to move out of your house, cancel your internet, cable, water and cell phone. However, we think it’s worth overlooking the technical stuff and focusing, instead, on the heart of the matter.
And so, the challenge that we make is this, can you eat for just one day on $2. That alone is going to be a serious struggle.
Let’s also not get hung up in tiny details. If you have some mayonnaise in your fridge– that you want to put on that can of tuna– go ahead. What’s more important is, how much did that can of tuna cost. In other words: Are you willing to spend 40% of your entire days $2 budget on one can of tuna?
Billions of people across the planet are faced with such challenges each and every day, and for just 24 hours, on December 8th, we’re going to view a tiny glimpse at their lives.
Why take the challenge?
We can think of a few good reasons why everyone should see what life’s like for the other half of the world, for at least one day. So, we’ve compiled a list. The list’s in no way complete, but it’s a start to get you thinking.
a. Empathy – Facing difficult choices can give us greater compassion for those living on the fringe.
b. Prayer – Having a day that keeps the poor front and center in our minds will help us remember to pray for others and to ask God what we can do to help.
c. Self-awareness – A limited budget can help us reflect on our own materialism and struggles with simplicity.
d. Resource Freeing – By living on less (even for a day) we’re more able to identify with those who struggle and to use any extra resources to support those in need.
Is it true that so many live on this little?
Here are a few links where you can find more information on the global distribution of wealth. Although exact statistics vary, it’s clear billions of people across the world live in poverty, and that more needs to be done to help.
Least Of.org (Poverty Calculator, find out where you rank)
Can’t people in poor countries live on less than the rest of us?
Of course. You could eat nothing but rice every day too, if you tried hard enough. However, the simple truth remains: a cup of rice, oil, or grain costs roughly the same in nearly every country on the planet. And yes, a farmer might grow wheat, with which he can make his own bread, but he still must buy oil to bake and have some additional source of protein.
Subsistence farmers in every corner of the world must work nearly every hour of every day to produce just enough to barter with and feed their families. While at the end of the day, they might not have two actual dollars in their hand, their labors have produced roughly two dollars worth of product and, with that, they must survive.
We must also consider, those in developing countries rarely have the opportunity to receive welfare or benefits from government sponsored social programs.
A day in the life
Of course, by taking this challenge, we’ll never truly grasp what life’s like for those faced with these daily struggles, but we might just develop an empathetic heart.
The world’s extreme poor face multiple daily obstacles: finding clean water, a safe place to sleep, the next meal, staying warm and dry, having shoes to walk on rugged paths and dealing with the constant threat of a minor, untreated medical problem turning deadly.
Although, the world’s poor endure enormous struggles, we’re struck, however, that so many manage to maintain a spirit of hope and perseverance—a spirit that puts most of us, who have so much, to shame.
What more can I do?
This challenge is not intended to promote one solution, or one organization, as an answer to the world’s problems, but rather to get us thinking about the struggles so many face on our planet today. The hope is, by taking this challenge, you’ll find yourself yearning to be part of the solution and begin to search for a way to make things better.
Now that you’ve decided to take the 2 Dollar Challenge, here are a few things to help guide you on your day. The basic premise is simple…just try to buy $2 or less worth of food on December 8th throughout the whole day. However, here are a few different ways you can get the most benefit out of the day as you walk through it.
Think. Every time you go to buy something or you feel that uncontrollable desire for Starbucks calling your name, think about how much of a draw being a consumer has on you. Invite God into those thoughts and see what He does.
Feel. Chances are you are going to feel hungry at some point during your day. Take some time to permit those feelings of hunger turn into empathy for the billions of people in the world who feel hungry on a daily basis. Contemplate what it means that Jesus is The Bread of Life for you as well as for them.
Pray. Pray for the poor around the world as well as in your backyard. Ask Jesus to bring transformation to them, their governments, their societies…and yourself, since we, too, are impoverished in our own ways. If you’re really daring, pray and ask God what He would have you do about it.
Act. You’ve probably saved some money by living off of $2. Consider donating what you’ve saved to organizations that serve the poor…maybe its possible to live on less daily and you can find extra to give on a regular basis.
Share. Whether you made it through the day on $2 or not, we’re sure that you’ve learned some things about yourself and about those who live on less every day. Take some time to share your experience on the www.2dollarday.com website, Facebook, your blog, etc. Become an advocate for seeing Jesus’ Kingdom advanced in the lives of the poor.