Once upon a time there was nice Mr. Smith from next door, always smiling, always friendly, always helpful. Also round the corner there lived the Miller family. They were just having their first child. Right away nice Mr. Smith sold them an insurance for the baby in case the child should cause any damage. Might be some day the little boy would play football and hit the window of a jewellery. That would be most expensive for the Millers then. Mr. Smith really cared, how nice. Yet Mr. Smith did not tell the Millers that (in Germany) a child cannot be sentenced guilty as long as not at least 7 years old. Thus the insurance does not make any sense up to that age. Well, but then Mr. Smith would not have gained any commission....... Just a fairy tale?
Autumn 2008 will probably enter history as the time of the big world wide financial crisis. Where has it derived from? In a way everybody who has got something to do with it knows it. It simply originated in the enormous egoism and greed of mankind.
What is the real motivation of that nice Mr. Smith? Why does he sell insurances? Because he get commission whenever he sells a new one. The higher the insurances sum is, the higher his provision will be. Why is he always smiling so nicely? Because then his potential customers will trust him more. Such a nice person can only do nice things, can't he? Thus Mr. Smith is trying to sell as many insurances to as many people as possible in order to earn as much money as possible, no matter whether his customers will need any insurance or not.
In almost all kinds of business we find these people. Has it ever happened to you that you went to a shop, and in the end came out with something silly that you don't need at all?
I personally have a ballet school. There are masses of ballet schools that offer dancing for little children age three. There you can put 20 or even more children into one room, and simply switch on music. The children hop around and don't learn anything. At the best they have a bit of fun. But the ignorant parents pay a lot of money. That is a greedy way of making money in a type of business that I know well.
There are other fields of business which I don't know well. There I have to trust that a specialist gives me the correct information. But how shall I know whether such a specialist really wants the best for me, and does not have his personal profit in mind and nothing else?
Those many individual brokers and sellers through which the financial crisis originated, are they to be blamed as the guilty ones? Not they alone. Each of them has his boss that permanently puts him under pressure to sell more. After all the company wants to make profit.
So, is it our system of society which caused the problem? Yes.
Capitalism the way we have it at the moment does not function. In the advertisements we permanently hear or read that the goal of life would be gaining as much economic wealth as possible. We shall buy a new car, a bigger TV, our own house, luxury vacations, and a lot more. You can pay bit by bit, or you use your credit card. This is good because there you don't see it right away when your purse is empty. If you don't have enough money in your account that does not matter either, it just costs some percentage ...... and in the end you are bankrupt – it was your own fault.
Yet communism does not function either. It already broke down years ago.
What else do we have?
Here is a parable:
Two sparrows are chatting. “How heavy is a snowflake?” the one asks. “Oh, that practically has no weight at all,” the other answers. “That cannot be,” replies the first sparrow, “recently I counted snowflakes that fell on a thick branch. When the 2.547.456.349.094th snowflakes fell on the branch, the whole thick branch broke down.”
You may compare us with these snowflakes, considering that we weigh even a lot more. We are made to live in communities and not as eremites. Each individual may and has to contribute to the welfare of the community and has to help that it functions.
Yet if neither capitalism nor communism are good, what else shall we do?
Here is the key: Give up Egoism.
Be totally honest and listen to your heart; whatever you do, put the following question: Why am I doing this? Am I doing it because I am looking for personal profit, or am I acting because I thus help the person next to me?
It is not easy to get rid of egoism because it is inside every person. We need a certain amount of egoism in order to survive. Do we really need it?
In history there has been one single person that showed us through his whole life what it is like not to have egoism but nothing but love for our neighbours. This person is Jesus Christ. Don't think of the actions of any churches during the past and present centuries. Often they also acted with egoism. Just and simply look at the person Jesus Christ. In the Gospels, the four first books of the New Testament you may read everything about the life of this Jesus. Have a try, look at him.
God does not expect you to give up your life for the benefit of your neighbours. He does not mind when you enjoy your life. But this should never be to the disadvantage of the people next to you. Try to put this into reality in your daily life at work. You will be most astonished. While you take care of your neighbours and look after them so that they will feel good, during that time God will take care of you and will supply with all that you need. Have a try. It definitely works.
Think of the snowflakes. If every individual person or at least a very large number of people would seriously live according to the example of Jesus, then all these people would be free of greed. Then you would be able to trust them all. Then we all together could make this thick branch of evil break down. Let us bring up our children according to the example of Jesus, so that some day they may have a better life than we do now, that they will feel good and will be happy.
By the way this Jesus has got a lot of presents waiting for you. All about these gifts you may read in the daily new texts of the Advent Calendar 2008 which will be online as from December 1st.