My friend George Garrigues recently wrote a book about
his father Brick, a journalist and amateur economist.
George wove letters, memories and research into a rich
fabric of the history of California and the life of an
At one point in the book, Dickie, his wife, â€œhad left her
job as a secretary and set herself up as the owner of a
secretarial service, the beginning of a long career as a
business-woman in our little town." In a letter about it,
Brick writes, "The only people who get rich are the
people who hire other people to do the work and who do
the managing themselves. Nobody yet ever got rich by
working--only by working the other fellow. And that
means paying somebody else five dollars for work that
you get paid ten for.â€�(1)
I never used to think that way. I grew up thinking that, if
a person worked hard and was honest, theyâ€™d be
well rewarded for their efforts. Now I realize that, in a
world of global markets and corporate graft, with a
disappearing middle class, the rich really do get richer and
the poor get poorer, no matter how hard they work.
If God didnâ€™t take care of us and protect us from
those who would take advantage, we would surely perish.
Having been an employee most of my life but having had
employees and volunteers at Life Skills Lab, I find
advantages and disadvantages in both situations.
1. Have to follow instructions.
2. Have the potential of too much routine and not enough
3. Have good ideas that may not be listened to.
4. Are in a position of reduced respect and rewards.
At the same time,
1. Are responsible for the livelihood of others, a heavy
2. Have many different kinds of things to learn and do.
3. Are responsible to sort through ideas from a variety of
sources--some good and some not so.
4. Have respect, but not always certainty that a particular
course of action is the best one.
Perhaps recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of
both roles, Paul spoke to both slaves and masters, the
employees and employers of his time.
â€œSlaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and
fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey
Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their
eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of
God from your heart,â€� he says.
And â€œMasters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do
not threaten them, since you know that he who is both
their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no
favoritism with himâ€� (Ephesians 6:5-8).
(1)Garrigues, George, He Usually Lived with a Female, The Life of a
California Newspaperman (2006: Quail Creek Press), p. 327.