Kevin sat back in his leather chair after he hung up the phone with a surreal sense of completion. He was now a millionaire. He took a moment to think back on his journey to the top.
He remembered growing up in a small town in Alabama. Kevin did not recall a day he was hungry or cold or barefoot, but he remembered being restless. His mind would wander as his dad would read the bible to them before going to bed. He often questioned his mother about her contentment with their small house and simple furniture. He had wanted so much more.
A twinge of guilt tugged at his conscience when he thought of how long it had been since he had spoken to his mother. He had called to tell her he would not be able to come home for dadís funeral last year. He had had an important business meeting that could not be rescheduled. His mom had sent dadís old bible to him, and he vaguely remembered the closet he had put it in.
He didnít like calling home anyway. His mother was always quoting the bible and she never failed to ask him if he was going to church. He had tried to stay in church after he left home, but grew disillusioned and confused with the social networking, the overt hypocrisy, and the superficial relationships. His pastor back home may have been boring, but he truly believed what he preached.
So did his dad. Till the day he died.
But all that stuff about being a servant to be a leader, and the last being first may be okay for eternity, but not in the real world. In these competitive economic times, being humble and selfless would get you nowhere. Where had it got his parents? According to the address on the last letter he had yet to open, mom still lived in the same old house.
Maybe he would go home for Christmas. He would use his money to fix up the house and maybe donate some to the church down there. He would show them that though he loved money, he was not evil.
His ex-fiancťe might disagree with him, he thought, as another stab of remorse made him frown.
He had met her at one of the churches he had attended for a while. She seemed to be the perfect addition to his climb to success, but it was soon evident she wanted more than an occasional phone call. She wanted him to make more time for her and for the LORD. But time was money; and he only had time to make more money.
She had warned him with tears that a good name is rather to be chosen than riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. He recalled laughing sarcastically as he walked out the door. She reminded him of his dad and that old preacher.
Sure he had lost a few things in his pursuit. He had sacrificed some relationships, and arguably he had compromised on some beliefs and values, but itís not like he had totally sold out. He had not robbed a bank and he hadnít murdered anyone. Hopefully it didnít count that he had thought about it more than once.
His mental walk down memory lane was interrupted by his secretary letting him know she was leaving for the day. He should leave too. Heíd go home and have a drink like he always did when his conscience bothered him. Wasnít there some verse in the bible that said a little wine was good for the stomach? So what if he drank more than a little sometime. Nothing was going to ruin this day for him. The deal was settled and by this time next week, he would be able to buy the company he now worked for.
The next morning Kevin Martin was found dead in his penthouse apartment. On the floor they found an unopened bottle of nitroglycerin tablets. On the bed next to him was an old tattered bible. Ironically it was opened to the page with this verse underlined:
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?