Outrageous Pay for CEOs

Outrageous Pay for CEOs

Outrageous Pay for CEOs

Richard Hollerman

How much do you earn each year? We know that some people earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others earn only a very small fraction of this amount. We are living in a world of inequities and this will continue until Christ returns, after which everyone in the Kingdom will have sufficient—an abundance to eat and adequate for meaningful life. Until then we will continue to press forward and trust that God will use early injustices for His glory.

Recently there was a small article in the local newspaper that carried this title: “CEO pay jumps to $18.9 million annually in 2017.” With a concern that there exists a huge gulf between America’s richest people and everyone else, the article says that “top executives of America’s biggest companies saw their average annual pay surge to $18.9 million in 2017. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 17, 2018)

Whereas the wages for workers was about flat, this increase in CEO pay was great. The amount is actually astronomical! How do we look at this?

We know that God’s written Word doesn’t tell us that so much is acceptable to earn and something else is not acceptable, thus we can only view the Biblical principles and make certain observations and conclusions. Notice a few of these principles and instructions:

First, we know that many of these executives are working for compromising companies, thus the very jobs that they hold are displeasing to God. What about working for a television broadcasting company, a pharmaceutical company, an Ivy League university, or any one of a number of companies? Surely there would be a massive amount of moral and religious compromising involved in this sort of position. Consequently, the consistent Christian would want to avoid this work. And those who do work in this way would be working against the Lord and His will. Obviously, such a person should repent of this compromise and plead for God to forgive.

Second, not only would it be compromising for such people to be employed in this responsible position in such a company, but think of the great inconsistencies with such a job. There would be serious problems with making decisions that compromise the ways of Christ. Such people would surely be putting their jobs before their families. They would be working long hours that take away from their service for the Lord. They would need to be involved in numerous decisions that would compromise the ways of God.

Third, Jesus pointed out the danger of earning massive amounts of money. He warned the rich, young man, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23). When the apostles expressed amazement about this, Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God” (v. 24b). He then shockingly said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (v. 25). Would you or I want to be placed in a position and earn so much money that it would be “hard” to enter the kingdom of God? Would we want to virtually assure our rejection by the Lord and our inability to enter His kingdom? This is what the rich man does!

Fourth, even though you and I may not earn 18 or 19 million dollars a year, are we still compromising in some way so that we do earn a great amount of income? Remember that nothing that you or I are involved in can be worth missing out on God’s Kingdom! Our Lord warned, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). Jesus went on: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (vv. 36-37).

Are you wanting to “save” your life or are you willing to “lose” your life? Do you want to “gain” the whole world or even much of it? If so, you are forfeiting your soul or life for something that is very short-lived or fleeting. Suppose that you did receive nineteen million a year on your job—but then fail to enter the kingdom of God? Suppose you were cast into the lake of fire for all eternity because you were willing to place monetary pleasures before God and His will! The Bible calls this idolatry and all idolaters will have their part in the lake of fire! (Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

While we may read about these CEO’s for some interest, let’s not covet their money or wish that we had such jobs. It really won’t be worth earning this amount—and then being eternally cast off from the Lord. As James wrote, “Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him” (James 2:5). Let’s chose to be rich in faith and an heir of God’s kingdom—even if we don’t have massive amounts of income, a large house, a luxurious car, or regular vacations! Let’s choose the eternal over the temporal and the spiritual over the material!

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