God’s plan

Published 7:03 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

What salary level do you think puts you in the top 1 percent of American incomes? After guessing something in the range of a million dollars, I discovered it’s a modest $250,000. You’ll be in the top 5 percent if you make $130,000 and the top 10 percent if you make $90,000. And you’ll be in the top 50 percent if you make $30,000, which is, I suppose, the middle income level?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individual median incomes range from $3,317 for a married, unemployed Asian-American female up to $55,935 for a fully employed Asian-American male. And the median income for American families in 2016 was $59,039 and for individuals was $31,099. Just remember these are averages and wages and don’t include capital gains and dividends from investments.

I know you won’t be surprised when I tell you, or the Census Bureau tells both of us, education makes a great deal of difference in median incomes. In 2017, people with some high school made $24,576, people who graduated from high school made $33,669, people with some college made $37,968, people with a college degree made $56,592, people with a master’s degree made $70,608, people with a doctoral degree made $79,231, and people with a professional degree made $91,538. Again remember these are averages and there are exceptions. Lots of preachers and teachers with master’s degrees can tell you, they are the exceptions.

The book of Job is the story of an exceptional man who had everything and then lost it all:

“When the day came for the heavenly beings to appear before the Lord, Satan was there among them. The Lord asked him, “What have you been doing?” Satan answered, ‘I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth.’

‘Did you notice my servant Job?’’ the Lord asked. ‘There is no one on earth as faithful and good as he is. He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil.’

“Satan replied, ‘Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. But now suppose you take away everything he has, he will curse you to your face!’

“‘All right,” the Lord said to Satan, ‘everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself.’ So Satan left.” (Job 1-2)

My dad was fond of asking, “How much is enough?” And he’d answer, “A little more than you have.” The real question is, are you content with what you have?