Redeeming Six Figures

wealthSo a report in the Charlotte Observer noted that Franklin Graham’s salary at Samaritan Purse alone is $622,000. Now, as you should know, I am not a socialist. I do not believe that he should be forced in some way or another to divide that with the “lesser endowed” population. Wealth is not a bad thing in itself. The Bible says it comes by hard work and saving, and I know Franklin Graham works hard and I am thankful for his organization’s service to further the message of the Gospel.

In addition, wealth is a tool in subduing the earth, building families, and discipling the nations. Aside from it’s abuses (and its propensity to make people fall in love with it), it is a necessity in this task and no one would dispute that. 

I do, however, wonder what is done with that salary. Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian humanitarian organization that provides physical relief globally. So alongside its mission to provide relief to the poor and needy, the CEO himself, in contrast, is making an upper six figures annually. 

I wrote an article last year about the idea of putting a cap on your salary, using the example of John Wesley: 

“In David Platt’s book Radical, he tells the story of how John Wesley put a cap on his lifestyle by identifying a modest level of expenses that he would live on every year.                                                             

“The first year his income surpassed that level by a small amount, and he gave that excess away. The next year his income increased, but he kept his standard of living the same, so he had more to give away. This continued year after year. At one point Wesley was making the equivalent of about $160,000 a year in today’s terms, but he was living as if he were making $20,000 a year. As a result, he had the equivalent of more than $140,000 to give away that year” (p. 128).”

This would be a great resolution for someone in Graham’s position. Of course you want to set a modest amount you could live on, provide for your family, leave an inheritance, etc.; but after doing so and coming up with a number, what if you were to give the rest away in building the Kingdom of God here and there? In addition to the work of your organization, you could make a significant impact in countless other areas of life. Maybe he is doing that, maybe not….. 

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