Nothing like a list of salaries to get most people all riled up. The business section of the newspaper often will run a list of salaries of the top CEOs, or the sports section will run a list of the highest-paid athletes. The newspapers love this stuff because 1) the information is easy to obtain, and 2) this kind of information always gets people talking.
We get upset because it violates our sense of justice. It is very hard to believe that anyone's work is worth more than, say, $5 million per year. On the other hand, predictable market forces generally produce better results than politicized crony capitalism. So while I may grumble as much as the next guy when I hear about some entertainer making millions of dollars for a few weeks' work, I prefer it to the alternative, which would be government mandates on compensation.
Perhaps much more important to the average working guy is not what the big shots make, but what the other average working guys make. While I believe it is important to have a general idea about overall compensation trends, it's not always good to have too much specific information. I write about that topic in my Jan. 21 post over at the Superior Catholic Herald. It is up to the manager or the boss to maintain a just compensation system for the entire staff. The boss's example will go a long way toward assuring the employees that such a system is in place. It's when employees begin to doubt the boss's ability to maintain a just compensation system that people begin to wonder too much about what everyone else is making. This is a huge distraction in any workplace.
John the Baptists tells us to "be happy with your wages" (Luke 3:14). He is telling us this for our own good. Although it is a simple directive, he makes a point of articulating this message because it is something we have to work at. Our human nature is to be unhappy with our wages. It takes a certain level of intellectual ascent -- no matter what your pay -- to be content on the job. It is a lot easier to find that contentment if God is part of your work. Always remember that God provides. That doesn't alleviate you from the responsibility of working, but it takes some of the pressure off in terms of seeking ever-higher wages.