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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One thought led to another…

I watched the stock market plummet yesterday, and thought about the effects of fear and greed. Gordon Gekko's rant rang in my ears: "Greed is good! Greed is right! Greed works! Greed will save the USA!" What fools we are.

Then I thought of that occasion on which a man asked Jesus to serve as an arbiter and make his brother share their inheritance. Jesus refused the request, but went on to do the man a greater kindness: He pointed out the motive behind the man's request and it's consequences: "Beware of greed, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses"

And then, because parables wake up things within us, Jesus told a story about a man who harvested a bumper crop and began to make plans to increase and enjoy his wealth. "But God said to him, 'Foolish man! This night your soul will be required of you… So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:13-21).

All of which reminded me of a story I heard years ago about an investment counselor who encountered a genie on the way to the office. When granted a wish he asked for a copy of The Wall Street Journal one year hence and hurriedly turned to the market page to plan his killing.

He got more than he bargained for, however. There on the opposite page he spied his own face—in an obituary describing his death in an automobile accident the previous day.

That's the trouble with greed, you know: it's not our goods that go. We go.

DHR

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