IN the movie entitled “Wall Street” Michael Douglas told his listeners those (in)famous words, “Greed is good!” And many listened to him tantalized as if by the song of the sirens. History, not to speak of God’s words, proved otherwise.

Leo Tolstoy, the author of “War and Peace,” tells an interesting tale about a farmer, “Kovlov.” Working hard and saving every penny he could, Kovlov finally succeeded in buying 2 hectares of land. After some time, by dint of hard work and thriftiness, the farmer added 4 more hectares to his farm. After 10 years he already had 40 hectares to his name, but he wanted to have more.

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When a stranger told the farmer he could have much more land at the other side of the mountain, the farmer sold all he had and went to the “promised land.” At the other side, he was told that he could have as much land as he would want provided that he would cover on foot until sundown. Moreover, he has to go back to the place he started from.

The farmer walked as fast as he could, and the more land area he covered, the more he wanted to have. Towards the end of the day, he discovered to his horror that he was far from the place he started from that morning. So, he started to run as fast as his tired legs could carry him. As the sun started to sink in the horizon, the farmer fell on his face, literally dead-tired. Greed did him in.

Glorified greed in Michael Douglas’ film, “Wall Street,” caused immense harm and untold sorry not only to the big business, or to the investors, but also to the rest of the world in the infamous economic meltdown of 2008. Greed is never good.

God gave material goods for our well-being and to be shared with others as well. The existentialist philosopher, Gabriel Marcel, emphasized being over having. In other words, to be really what we are supposed to be, we have to use material goods properly. By sharing them with the needy, we can store for ourselves treasures in heaven.

“Jesus told this parable, ‘Once there was a rich man who had lands with good crops. But since he did not have enough place to store his crops in, he said to himself...What shall I do? This is what I will do, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones where I will store all my corn and my other goods. Then, I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and enjoy yourself” But God said to hm, “You fool, this night you will give up your life; then who will get the things you have kept for yourfself?’” Luke 12:16-21.