Hillbillies and the crazy rich

The 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians is about a young Chinese-American professor in New York named Rachel, and her boyfriend Nick, who invites her home to meet his family. Nick is Chinese and his family lives in Singapore. What Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick’s family is unimaginably rich, making Nick the most eligible bachelor in all of Asia. The usual romantic comedy complications ensue, as nearly everyone in Asia tries to separate the couple. Every young woman is after Nick for his money. Nick’s mother says that Rachel, the daughter of a Chinese immigrant single mother in New York, is too common, too American, and therefore not worthy to become part of the family. 

I’m usually not the romantic comedy type, but I loved this movie. I kept wondering how Rachel and Nick could hang together, could be so unaffected, when wealth had made everyone around them crazy. Everyone, except Rachel and Nick, was operating out of a script for their lives, a script that had been determined before they were born by money and family circumstances.

It actually reminded me of J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy. How was it that Vance was able to break out of his family’s circumstances, the poverty and hopelessness which trap so many in Appalachia? For Vance, it was the costly love of his grandmother.

In Crazy Rich Asians, it was the costly love of Rachel’s mother who taught her to be resourceful and independent.

The truth is, crazy wealth and crushing poverty have a lot in common. Each comes with a set of circumstances that conspire to tell us who we are and what we can become. Both rich and poor can suffer hopelessness.

But what if there was someone who offered to rewrite the script of your life? 

Jesus Christ knows what he created us to be. The better we know him, the more resistant we become to being overwhelmed by wealth or crushed by poverty. 

His costly love teaches us who we really are.

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