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  • Doug Tjapkes

Super-rich buy super yachts. Super-poor become our friends!

There’s a story in the news these days that hits me the wrong way. It’s about super-rich people. Seems they can’t find enough ways to spend their money so they’re buying boats. Big boats. Some as small as 75 feet long, but many in the 400-foot category. As a result, super-yacht builders have never been so busy! Let’s discuss the super-rich for a moment. Today, the twenty-six richest people in the world have more wealth than the world’s poorest 3.8 billion. Because they don’t know what to do with all that money, they buy huge private ships, spending hundreds of millions of dollars. Then they hire dozens of people to crew them, spending between $5 and $10 million a year to cruise from one hotspot to the next. Superyachts also serve as handy floating tax havens. As a Paradise Papers investigation showed, elites go to great lengths to avoid paying taxes on their luxury purchases. Big boats are also a good place to hide other, smaller luxury purchases, like artwork and jewelry. Talk to me all you wish about capitalism, but when I hear stories about billions of people struggling to just survive, and our earth’s looming ecological crisis, I start to understand what Jesus was talking about: ...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is spending $500 million for a new yacht! I guess he can afford it. He makes $4 million an hour! Compare that with a very special group of my friends who reside in Michigan prisons and who, if lucky enough to get a job, probably make less than 50-cents an hour: .0000001% of Mr. Bezos’ wage. So far this week I have written 5 thank-you notes to prison residents for their donations to HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. It’s difficult for me to imagine that they can find pennies, let alone dollars in their skimpy budget to help fellow inmates, but they’re doing it at a record-setting pace! While we feel blessed to receive even a $5 gift from the incarcerated, some of these gifts are amazing. One guy who is battling cancer just sent us a check for $500.00! Pastor Nate has asked our congregation to concentrate on these words from Jesus this month. I cannot think of a better way to end this piece: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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