One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to watch the movie, “A Christmas Carol.” One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when the ghost of Jacob Marley visits his old partner Ebenezer Scrooge. Marley tries to warn Scrooge to change his ways before it is too late. It’s too late for Marley, who drags the chains of sin and neglect with him for all eternity; for he had turned his back on mankind. Marley is seven years deceased, and warns Scrooge that Scrooge’s chains of sin and neglect are far greater than Marley’s, since Scrooge has had an additional seven years to commit sin and neglect. Jacob Marley tries to impart some wisdom; to explain to Ebenezer the error of his own ways by stating:
“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” – Charles Dickens
Mankind is Our Business!
Wow! Now take a look at your own life. How many chains of sin and neglect might you be carrying around? How are you doing at expressing charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence toward your neighbor? Do you understand that mankind is your business? In our society of ever-growing individualism, I think we are losing sight of the fact that mankind is our business.
God placed each of us here on this earth, at this time in history, to serve Him; to do His will. Mankind is definitely God’s business, and we all have our own part to play in God’s business. Therefore, mankind is our business too! We are all God’s children, and that makes all other members of mankind our brothers and sisters; all members of one family. God placed us here to love one another, to be merciful towards each other, to be kind rather than always needing to be right, to be cheerful and charitable towards each other.
From the quote above, I think the most important phrase is “The common welfare was my business.” Because of individualism, how often do we only think of ourselves rather than others? For example, look at all of the special interests in Congress, only looking out for themselves, and not the common good. As a society, we carry very heavy chains of sin and neglect.
Break Free From the Chains
The remedy for positive change – of moving away from sin and neglect, and moving toward holiness and charity – is to follow Ebenezer Scrooge’s path to virtue. At the end of the movie, he has a conversion of heart. Scrooge becomes one of the most beloved people in his family and town. He shares love; gives to charity, and becomes kind and patient. He becomes benevolent.
So, what can you do? Start small and work your way toward more impactful things. Begin within your own family by being more charitable, merciful, patient and kind. Take that behavior into the workplace and be a beacon of Christ’s light for others to be drawn to; make mankind your business! Make the common welfare your business.