I’ve been thinking about our lives and the impact that we have on those around us. God has given us potential. You and me. We have potential. We have incredible potential to affect the lives of those around us for good or for bad. We have the opportunity to use today to bless those around us. We also have the capability of taking advantage of those around us, of using others, or misleading others in order to better our lot in life. Being a blessing may cost us. It might mean that we have to give up something in order to help someone else. On the other hand, we can manipulate, deceive, and mislead those around us and think that we gain when in reality we really lose. Case in point. Bernie Madoff deceived and misled lots of his friends, close friends, and clients, so that he could line his pockets with tons of money. More money than he could have ever spent. When the curtain was pulled back and he was exposed for who he was, everyone lost, including Bernie. Friends lost huge chunks of money, people lost their retirement savings, and Bernie lost his freedom for the rest of his life. That’s small potatoes compared to the loss of life that is traced back to Bernie’s choices. Drink this in…

* On December 17, 2008, HSBC banker, Christen Schnor, hanged himself in London one week after his company said $1 billion of the bank’s money was at risk because of Madoff’s scheme.

* On December 22, 2008, Thierry de la Villehuchet, a French hedge-fund manager, committed suicide in New York City after losing $1.5 billion to Bernie’s scheme.

* On February 10, 2009, William Foxton shot himself to death near his home in Southampton, England. He could not endure the shame of being in financial straits after losing his life savings to Bernie’s scheme.

* Last of all, on Saturday, December 11, 2010, Bernie’s own son, Mark, hung himself with a dog leash two years to the day after his father was arrested for the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

Bernard Madoff had decisions to make through the years. He made bad decisions, ungodly decisions, self-serving decisions, and now look at the impact his decisions are having on so many other lives. There is a powerful lesson awaiting those who will learn from this tragic tale, for those who will pay attention. Use the potential God has given you to be a blessing, rather than looking for a way to be “blessed,” trying to figure out a way to get more, have more, and do more. God has given us incredible potential today. Use it to affect the lives of others for the glory of God rather than our own gain.

In His Steps,

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