The Advent/Christmas season can inspire great generosity but there are still plenty of Scrooges around. On this day in 2008, Bernard Madoff was arrested at his New York City apartment and charged with a long-running Ponzi scheme estimated to involve around $65 billion; one of the biggest frauds in Wall Street history.
Madoff, founded a small trading firm bearing his name in 1960. The business was established, in part, with money he earned working as a lifeguard. Two decades later it had grown into one of the largest independent trading operations in the securities industry, and he and his family lived a life of luxury. It was a greed driven business.
Based on the success of his legitimate operations, this business had, by the 1990s, become a Ponzi scheme, in which he paid his earlier investors with funds received from more recent investors. But on December 10, 2008, Madoff revealed to his brother and two sons, that the business was a fraud and nearly bankrupt. Madoff’s sons turned in their father to federal authorities, who arrested him the next day. What hath greed wrought?
A generous spirit may not make you millions, it may not help you to live in the lap of luxury, but it can preserve the most important thing you can leave behind in life – an untarnished legacy and the fragrance of love and good-will. The most important thing you possess is your character. Yes, we all have plenty of flaws but a generous spirit has an infectious quality that can permeate the lives of people around you. Luke wrote in Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” You don’t have to have a lot of money and you don’t have to spend a lot of money at Christmas to be generous. Giving generously is a spiritual quality that can be shared all through the year. It begins as wise men and women share of themselves not only to their family but to those in need.
Blessings and Be Well – Be Generous…