Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stumbling Greed

I'm sure that by now almost everyone has heard of the tragic event that took place recently in a Walmart store, located in New York. Apparently, at approximately 5:00 in the morning on black Friday, an angry crowd, anxiously waiting outside the store in anticipation of buying items at reduced prices, stampeded inside as soon as the doors were unlocked. One tiny click at the door, one small turn of a key and within minutes, a 34-year-old, part-time Walmart employee, died as a result of being trampled and suffocated. Just as horrific, other employees as well as police who arrived on the scene minutes later in an attempt to render aid to the poor victim, were allegedly pushed to the side by incoming shoppers as they stumbled over one another.

Can there be a more ironic and disgusting chain of events? What we see in this scenario is a representation of the lowest and most immoral acts known to man: greed.

Perhaps most of the shoppers didn't even realize that there was a man who was literally dying at their feet. In the flurry of all the noise, shouting, pushing and yelling, it is possible that the majority of the customers were unaware of the direness of the circumstance. Like race horses whose adrenalin rockets the second that the gait in front of them is raised, the customers, eyes wide and pupils dilated, most likely piled inside the store as quickly as they could in order to purchase their coveted item before someone else bought the last one of its kind.

Isn't it sad that when we think about this tragedy, we shake our heads in disbelief and wonder where has all the humanity gone? "What is this world coming to?" we ask aloud as we read about this story and others like it.

Well, as much as this event shakes our trust in human interaction, we know that there are hundreds of other stories that revive our spirit. In particular, I am reminded of the firefighters who risked their lives to climb up tens of smoke-filled staircases in New York on 9/11 to rescue people trapped inside, some of whom were confined to wheelchairs, in order to bring them outside to safety. Many of those rescuers lost their lives as they went back inside the burning building in futile attempts to save others. Ironically, if the Walmart store had been on fire and deathly smoke had quickly filled the precious air, we would have most likely seen a different picture: people fighting, pushing and screaming to get out alive.

Greed. Unfortunately it is a word that lies dormant in each of us, and rears its ugly head in many ways. We all suffer from greed, and we all stumble over it at times. I ask myself if I could have willingly run back inside the burning towers, knowing full well that I might not come out alive. I'm not a trained firefighter, but nevertheless, if it were on fire, would I run into the Walmart building in an attempt to save people inside? Most likely, I would not. Why not? Because I want to live.

I thank God every day for the One who died for all of us, Who risked everything for us, Who endured the pain and suffocation for us, and Who ultimately picks us up as we stumble along in life. Give others a hug today, and let them know that in the scheme of things, we are only here for a such a short time, too short in fact, to let greed stand in our way of serving others.


Kelly said...

I was reading from 1 Timothy 6 during my devotions today - some very relevant scripture concerning this topic.

Glynis said...

What a horrible/beautiful post. Yes, when we begin to put life into perspective, we do want to survive, but I am sensing a big heart here and I am also thinking that you would go back into the building to save just one more [precious] life. God walks us through the firey furnaces in our lives. Bless you, Miss Karen!