New York is a home for examples of greed. The city isn’t unique. Greed can be found in small towns as well as large, tiny villages and hamlets, even remote outposts and island communities. Greed is something we carry within us. It lives on, impervious to our disciplines. It may lay doormat for long periods of time. Yet something always triggers it reawakening, especially when one things he or she or no longer exposed or in danger of its foul reach.
New York hosts great examples of greed simply because it is a large community with very bright residents. In this location, complete, shared, and understood knowledge, as well as its discovery often moving along in very different stages. Some understand the nuances of a land deal in midtown. Others comprehend the uncertainties and fears of one with or without the resources to make something happen. It is considered normal for rumors to share a home with facts. In this environment, it is possible, probable, that those who want to get ahead at the expense of someone less informed, confident, or assured can and do. Sometimes it is hard to recognize greed among the legitimate business deals, great ideas, and collaborations.
I wish I could expose just how much damage greed can and does do to the people involved. The people touched are clearly visible. Those involved are scarred in a way which numbs his and her soul, ripping at the body’s fibers supporting hope, compassion, and a sense of shared mission. In days past the prophets had a curse to those caught in greed – “Doom to you who buy up all the houses and grab all the land for yourselves—evicting the old owners, posting no trespassing signs, taking over the country, leaving everyone homeless and landless.” (Isaiah 5.8)
Today I fear the curse yet I know you and I can do something about it. Greed can occur in small things as well as big. You and I can take a stand – for justice and community, compassion and hope, and for love and God.
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