Rich people who pay tithing are, by all accounts, still losers compared to the poor. Or, anyway, though their ten percent is a lot more money, it is money that had little effect on their life and so is not a very impressive sacrifice. Thus their salvation is put in jeapardy by diminishing marginal returns! How does the Kingdom deal with this? One approach is to have them give way more; such as encouraging fast offerings to be more generous (which we do), or go all out with a law of consecration (which we currently don’t). I’ve seen some pretty generous fast offerings, but I think there is another way we help to equalize the sacrifice– time.
The problem with giving money is that rich people have way more of it. But they don’t have more time. It is true that they can spend it differently, but by and large, rich people tend to work just like poor people do. In fact, on average* I think they are employed more hours. So if you load them up with callings, their sacrifice is much more comparable to the sacrifice of a poor person. Poor people give a great deal just to tithe and pay fast offerings, thus in some cases their sacrifice cup runneth over before one even starts handing out callings.
This approach works well if the goal is helping those who are serving, but obviously there is another side to it, because we actually do want the service to be done well. Fortunately, rich people tend(!) to be as or more administratively competent as poor people. On the down side, if the time is a substitute for giving more money, well, we could put that money to great use building up the kingdom, even if it did not do as much to build up the giver. Thus, the fact that we don’t send high-wage members out en masse to work and bring in money, but instead bring them back in to serve their Church directly suggests to me that a substantial part of giving is about the giver.
Another down side is that pushing things in this direction tends to fill high profile callings up with wealthier members. Then people either
1. start equating wealth with righteousness or
2. start accusing other people of equating wealth with righteousness (because rich people are getting those callings).
Either one is a problem. And, as you can clearly see, I view callings as blessings only in the way other sacrifices are blessings. Some people actually want certain callings. For them, the sacrifice can come by not getting a calling they like.
Of course, maybe this model is not the explanation at all. Maybe rich people get higher profile callings strictly because they are more competent or more spiritual. Maybe this perception is off and rich people don’t land more time consuming callings. Or maybe the relationship is to test the faith of the egalitarians among us. I haven’t a clue. But I think thinking in terms of sacrifice provides an interesting angle to understanding the distribution of callings.
* Now don’t come running in with stories of the poor mother of 12 you know who works four jobs and doesn’t have any time left at all. I’m thinking in terms of averages, not exceptions and that is clearly an exception.