I attended a conference session yesterday about mobile devices. The speaker commented that Apple recently announced that it has $76 billion cash on hand. He also mentioned that Apple may be releasing the iPad 3 this year, even though they just released the iPad 2 not that long ago (even in technology time).
The speaker at this session also talked about how many people have mobile devices. I think the number was close to 6 billion. He predicted that every person on the planet would soon have a mobile device.
Both of these bits of information got me thinking about how unconnected we can be to what is happening in the world outside our own little space. In particular, I thought of all the people living in poverty in this world. I thought of the many African refugee camps where people not only don’t have a mobile device, they don’t have clean water or enough food to eat. They don’t have a roof over their heads or a safe place to sleep, so to them the latest mobile app is really irrelevant. It also occurred to me that the plight of these people could be greatly relieved with that $76 billion in cash Apple is holding on to.
So what if, instead of buying an iPad 3 when they come out, every person who thought of doing so gave the cost of that iPad to help those in need? I wonder how much money that would be? Or what if Apple, instead of greedily holding onto that cash, decided to use it to relieve global suffering?
How did we in the developed part of the world become so enamored of the latest and greatest technology and so blind to what is happening in less developed countries? We now have so much more access to information about the plight of the poor, and yet we seem to be less aware of their need. Or at least we seem not to care.
I do realize that Twitter and Facebook have both been responsible for helping to bring the plight of those in need into the light. Help and aid for natural disasters has been incredible in response to tweets or posted videos by famous people. But still facts like Apple’s $76 billion in cash on hand really make me wonder about the huge divide between those who care and try to make a difference, and those who are more concerned about themselves and getting the latest app to help them find a clean public restroom.
I am encouraged, however, by all the Christian bands who work hard to educate their fans about the needs of the poverty-stricken around the world. One such band is Jars of Clay, who started Blood:Water Mission, a grassroots charitable organization that seeks to provide clean water and clean blood to people in Africa who otherwise are forced to drink contaminated water that is often deadly, and to provide clean blood to help fight the HIV/AIDS problem. This band doesn’t have $76 billion in cash, and yet they have done what they can to raise awareness and help those in need.
Jars of Clay’s last CD was titled Shelter, and the title track is about how important it is for us to provide shelter for one another. We can’t live in our own little world and think that those in other parts of the earth don’t matter to us, or that we can’t do anything to help or make a difference.
So when the iPad 3 does come out, if you are thinking of getting one, will you make the choice to be the shelter for someone in need instead? Will you consider going to the Blood:Water Mission website and donating what you would otherwise spend on that iPad 3 so that the poverty-stricken of Africa can have clean water and clean blood?