Chaplain’s Corner: LII

“Who Can You Trust?”

“It’s all a big lie.”

That’s how Wall Street icon Bernie Madoff’s gigantic Ponzi scheme was discovered in 2008 to be one of the biggest frauds in American history. Tens of thousands of investors had entrusted their entire life’s savings to Madoff. Madoff faked records of stock deals and when investors wanted to withdraw their funds back in the recession the money was no longer there.

On paper, Madoff’s accounts were worth almost 65 billion dollars. But how much money was actually in the bank? Somewhere around $300,000. The list of Madoff’s victims were among some of the world’s richest and famous: Steven Spielberg, John Malkovich, Kevin Bacon and Zsa Zsa Gabor all lost millions. The fraud hurt philanthropic endeavors and estates as well. Holocaust survivor and Peace Prize
winner Eli Weizel’s $15.2 million Foundation for Humanity was gone.

Why did Madofff do it? He loved being the guy who wrote big checks and garnered people’s praise for his generosity. But it was all a lie.

Madoff’s 46 year old son Mark committed suicide after his father’s confession. Madoff was sentenced to spend 150 years behind bars. He recently died in jail.

Which brings us to this frightening question: Who can you trust?

Trust is risky. It makes us vulnerable. But if we avoid trust we lose out on much of life’s joy. What we know for sure is we have to trust somebody.

Who do you trust to address these important issues of life and how we find meaning and purpose in the midst of them?

You might choose Buddha. Or Karl Marx. Or Science. Or Shirley MacLaine. Or Jesus. Or Michael Jordan. Or your favorite author. If you decide that no one is worthy of your trust but yourself, life can become a hopelessly untrustworthy place over time.

There’s a reason: Proverbs 3:5 is one of the favorite passages of scripture. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight.”

More than we can ever know, life comes down to the simple question: Who do you

What are you doing today to grow your trust in God?

Ron Naylor, Chaplain