During this time of year there are those who feel as if they need more of everything. More shoes, more clothes, more electronics, etc.; as if, more would not beget the desire to want even more. Many times avarice begets even more avarice; so, as Christians we need to be very careful that we do not indulge in wanting more, simply for the sake of wanting more.
Disgraced financier, Bernard Madoff, had two sons. From a father’s perspective, we can imagine he wanted the best for his sons; and so, he became a broker. It is difficult to remain without avarice in the brokerage field; since, the very nature of the profession is to accumulate more, more, more, and yet some more. Unfortunately, as you accumulate more, someone maybe receiving less; and so, the cycle begins. Mr. Madoff, somehow unbeknown to his clients, was able to embezzle 50 billion dollars in wealth, taking the life savings of many other wealthy people in the process. Although he went to prison for his fraudulent activities, his family was left to intense scrutiny by both the Feds and his former clients. Later, national news agencies would report that Mark Madoff, Mr. Madoff’s eldest son, told the Feds that his father confessed his elaborate scheme to both he and his brother prior to going to prison.
After the notoriety of the trial, it must have been difficult for the younger Madoff to interact with his neighbors, friends, and others in his life. He went from being a young billionaire with people granting his every whim, to the inability to place a reservation at his favorite restaurant with the use of his last name. As a result, instead of celebrating the coming of the holidays like everyone else in the country with a whole lot less, the news reported that Mark Madoff took his life by hanging himself while his 2 year old son slept in an adjoining bedroom. A few days later, it was reported that his family would not hold a funeral service for him; they simply planned to cremate the body. Whether any of this is true, is irrelevant; we all make mistakes. —Some, more spectacular than others.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, His first words were, “Peace be unto you.” He could have said anything else, yet He offered them peace. Peace can only be attained through the One who conquers and has conquered the burden of sin. Riches do not bring you peace; it brings you wealth. Fame does not bring you peace, it brings you notoriety. Position and status do not bring you peace; they bring you more work and responsibility.
As you go through this holiday season watching others overspend and shop “’til they drop,” seemingly cheery on the façade, do not envy them for their lifestyle, fame, fortune, or status, unless you are also prepared to accept their burdens. —Aren’t yours heavy enough? L.
Study Reference: Galatians 6:5
From: "Burden-Free." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell