The Theme of Greed in Millions

maureen

We can pay off all our debts. We can take a vacation. We can improve the lives of our families and friends. We can fill the gas tank. We can start a trust for our children. We can stay home and pursue something we love to do. We can weather an economic downturn. We can now afford to be charitable. We are certain we would be responsible and worthy stewards should a bag of money land in our laps.

Millions presents yet another story of finding a large sum of ill-gotten cash. Money literally falls from the sky into the hands of young Anthony and Damian. Britain is in the process of adopting the Euro so the fortune, which is in British Pounds, must be spent quickly before the country converts to Euros.
 
Older brother Anthony’s materialism contrasts with Damian’s spiritual seeking. Anthony immediately begins spending the money while Damian, believing it has been sent by God, seeks spiritual direction from various saints who appear to him. He wants to give the money to those in need. The money becomes a burden as Anthony constantly worries about how to hide it, what to buy with it, and whether it will run out.  Anthony thinks about tangibles like tax rates and mortgages and dismisses his younger brother Damien’s imaginative, spiritual realm as childish.
 
When their father learns about the cash he initially wants to return the money until the family’s home is robbed.  The father and his girlfriend launch into a spending frenzy justified by the excuse that they “deserve it” because they’d been robbed. Anthony and the boys’ father see Damian’s charity and spirituality as a reaction to his mother’s death but Damian’s attitude is really rooted in faith and unselfishness. Damian derives real pleasure from helping other people. For him the saints, the poor, his dreams for the money are a reality that Anthony and their father Ronnie cannot fully grasp. Perhaps this sort of reality is what Jesus meant by “come as a little child.”
 
Sometimes people who practice unselfishness and charity can seem naïve. We know that when we give that homeless guy on the corner a dollar he is probably not going to spend it at the grocery store. When we make a donation we expect a tax write-off and perhaps our name on a plaque. Giving has the potential to be joyful and fulfilling if we can overcome cynicism and find a little faith. Damian is an example of someone who sees need and gives with unclenched fists and selfless abandon.

Most of us struggle with the need to feel financially secure. We feel the need to save for that unexpected car repair or catastrophic illness. Many of us just love to shop or travel and really want to spend our money on ourselves. We don’t think of ourselves as selfish people but we know that money is a limited commodity and we’re a little worried about giving it away. Information about mismanagement and fraud among charities may cause us to question whether we should contribute. We may feel conflicted about what it means to be responsible stewards of our money. Both reason and compassion have a place but few of us will experience financial collapse as a result of generosity.

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