Tom Cruise Makes $20 a Second!

AS IF there was ever any doubt … Hollywood has officially become Hollyweird and weirder. I’m not talking about the bizarre worldviews, the wacky lifestyles, and the bottom feeder morality that permeates tinsel town like L.A. smog … although we could talk about that ad nauseum - emphasis on “nauseum.”

What I’m referring to is the growing trend of growing payments to actors. It’s gone way beyond a hefty salary to amounts that surpass the operating budgets of many small nations.

A couple examples:

Legally Blonde Reese Witherspoon has now become the highest paid actress of all time – commanding a reported 29 million dollars for her work in the upcoming film “Our Family Trouble.” I think we can say that gives a new meaning to her character name in “Walk the Line”… June Carter CASH!!!

But Reese’s paycheck pales in comparison to another actor who has a $75 million dollar payment coming his way for a few months work in Mission Impossible 3.

That’s right. Mr. Cruise will definitely be cruising in style when that check clears, and what is really clear to me is that our society has lost its collective sense of what is valuable … or should be anyway. Think about $75 million dollars over a short course of time. If Tom is working a 12 hour day, 7 days a week for 3 months he is pulling down well over $800K per DAY, which amounts to nearly 70K per hour.

And how much is that? A lot. That means as he is slaving away sipping Avian and memorizing lines, his bank account is growing $1,157 bigger every minute, which is around $20 per second.

In the time it takes us to sneeze, Tom Cruise has made a cool Andrew Jackson … and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous. I just think the $20 a second salary should be going to people finding the cure to cancer, not to folks finding a new lead role. Which is why I’m so glad we as Christians live under a completely different payment system. We, too, have a “part” to play, not in a film, but in a real life drama that involves the eternal destiny of those around us. We can choose to step up and take the role, or we can relegate ourselves to a background bit part. What motivates actors to the big bucks should remind us that we should be motivated by big rewards as well. At least that’s what the Apostle Paul said:

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever (I Corinthians 9:25)

Didja notice that? Part of the reason we serve Christ is to get the crown … i.e. eternal rewards. In fact, it’s a command from Christ Himself:

Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus is telling us that we have a paycheck coming, but we have to earn it. We need to memorize the lines God gave us and play the part we were born to play. If we do, when our war with the world is done, we’ll take our place in heaven as a top gun, and we’ll be able to shout:

“Show me the treasure!!!”

Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with youth leaders and students, equipping them to be effective in sharing the gospel. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit Find out how Dare 2 Share Ministries and Focus on the Family® are working together to capture the hearts of this generation of teenagers, visit Send feedback to