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FAIR PAY? John Paulson and 5 Billion Dollars

To paraphrase the great Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, "How much money does a man need?"
       John Paulson, a hedge fund trader earned one billion dollars in pay last year.  How much is one billion dollars?  Let us assume that the government taxes him at 35% interest.  (This assumes that he has no lawyers and financial wizards to hide the money.)  Thus, he took home $650,000,000.  So how long will that last?  Let us also assume that he gets no interest on his money.  (Too hard for me to calculate if he does get interest.)  So he and his wife and his two children go on a shopping spree.  Each day they spend $10,000 per day.  At the end of 65,000 days they would run out of money.  How long is 65,000 days?  That is 178 years!  So he and his children will never run out of money.  But there is more.  That was his pay.  But he personally earned another four billion dollars in investments in his own company.
   Let me ask another question.  Which person, prior to 2010, earned the most money in a single year?  If you guessed John Paulson you would be right, as he earned 3.7 billion dollars in 2007.
    I am all for fair pay, but no individual is worth being paid one billion dollars in a year.  GM, which actually produces something, cars, with over 200,000 workers, earned four billion dollars last year.  But how did Paulson improve the economy?  What services did he provide? 
   St Paul, no relation to Paulson, wrote:  "For it is written in the Law of Moses: 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.' Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest." (I Corinthians 9:9-10)  So just like an ox gets to eat, just like a tenant farmer (plowman and thresher) participates in the harvest, the worker should be paid.  And they must be paid a fair wage.  But earning one billion dollars is simply immoral.  No man's work is worth one billion dollars, let alone five billion dollars. 
    Well one man's work is worth five billion dollars.  And that is the work Jesus Christ did coming to the earth to save us from our sins, and ultimately having to die on the cross.  His work is worth more than we can count.  But Jesus was the Christ, and John Paulson is only John Paulson.
     One of the best short stories is Leo Tolstoy's "How much land does a man need?"  I read it annually as a  reminder to lay up for myself treasures in heaven, not on earth.

Presidents' Day

Today in America we celebrate Presidents' Day - the birthdays of our two greatest presidents - George Washington (22 February 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (12 February 1809).  These two great men stood head and shoulders (literally and figuratively) over their compatriots.  George Washington was a far better leader than King George III, a mad king who was unstable and reigned poorly.  General Lighthorse Harry Lee (Robert E. Lee's father) described Washington as "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.  One of George Washington quotes worth contemplating is:  "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."
Lincoln was an equally good president who led our country through her darkest hour.  He said, "I am not concerned whether God is on my side or not, but I am concerned whether I am on God’s side.”
    May we be on God's side and may we read the Bible so that we can govern our country well.


    What are your priorities?  Is your priority to love and serve God?  To love and serve your neighbor?  Or is it just about you?  We sing piously "Sweet Hour of Prayer," but I know that I do not spend an hour of prayer every day.  We say we are Christians, but do we read daily what God has said to us in His Word, the Bible?  For example, today -  Sunday - the Lord's Day - how much time will be spent in God's Word, with His people, and worshipping Him?  And how much time will be spent reading the newspaper (extra thick today with all the sections), watching television, sleeping, etc?  I am not saying that you can not have fun and have to live in a monastery.  I am not saying that you can't watch a football game.  I am saying that we should examine our lives and see where our priorities lay. 
   I do find that on some days I don't have time for devotions, but then I look at what I did and I did have time to read the newspaper, read some magazines, surf the internet, read e-mails, and do everything but devotions.  The trivial things of the world choked out my devotional life.  "What was sown among the thorns is the man who hears the Word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."  Matthew 13:22
  The first rock I am casting is at me.  So learn from my faults.



Super-Sunday!!  Today in the United States we celebrate Super-Sunday - and as I type, the Super Bowl is being played.  Much hype is about this Super Bowl - XLV - the 45th Super Bowl.  But Super-Sunday came too early this year. 
    The reason is that Super-Sunday is really Easter.  For at Easter we celebrate Christ's physical, bodily resurrection that happened not 45 years ago, but almost 2,000 years ago.  Who cares who the winners were for the Super Bowl V or XXII?  Does anyone really care?  Does it affect the way you live?  Probably not. 
    But Easter affects the way I live.  Because of Christ's Resurrection, I know that I will live after death.  After I die, I know that I will physically be reunited with my body and live forever in heaven with Christ. Easter is the real Super-Sunday.  Easter is something to celebrate.  The fact that Christ is the victor - that is exciting - and affects the way I live.
Who wins this Super Bowl is interesting for this year, and next, but not for eternity.