The Emperor is Stark Naked!

Grabbing Hold of Life!

All that glitters is not gold:

A few days ago I was talking with a friend about (yes, I’m embarrassed to admit this…) economics. I’m not exactly a math genius, but I do personally know the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business – he’s a brother by another mother… and father. (Of course, I can’t understand a word he says when I see him on television, but I do know him!)

But I digress. So I was talking with this friend, and I was spouting off about how, “I can’t believe the ridiculous incentive bonus payments all these executives keep receiving. Their financial service businesses are still losing money, they’re leveraged to the hilt, and they’re laying people off!”

I was referencing bonus payments of five, ten, even fifteen million dollars and more!

“The incentive system is important,” my friend argued. “How else are they going to attract or keep the top talent?” It’s a line of reasoning I’ve heard repeated often over the past few years.

“The emperor has no clothes,” I said.

“What?” My friend responded.

“The emperor is stark naked!” I said.

“What do you mean?” My friend asked.

“I mean, maybe ‘The top talent’ aren’t really all that talented!” I said. “Maybe they’re pulling the wool over our eyes and laughing all the way to the bank – and that laughing bank is in the Cayman Islands!”

Seriously, people. Maybe they really aren’t that smart!

This is my point about grabbing hold of – as the writer of Timothy puts is – “The life that truly is life.” What are we doing? Why do we put our trust in people who say, “Just give me all your money and I’ll give you everything you ever wanted”…? (Insert temptation of Christ text here). “The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.'”

Really? Are you serious?

We’re grabbing hold of something, and we’re desperate, but it’s got nothing to do with life! I believe the reason so many Americans are willing to go back down the same road again with this economy – quite happy to continue to roll the dice in the same old way and to mortgage their grandchildren’s future – is that they (we) have bought the BIG LIE…

And the BIG LIE is this. “If we simply gorge ourselves on material things then – eventually – we’ll be happy. We have to be happy….”

And why do we believe it HAS TO be true? …… Because it’s all so many of us have; it’s all we know – and to admit we’ve been heading in the wrong direction for so long would be to admit how completely lost we all are. And so we continue down the same path, and we continue to gorge ourselves on what does not and will not satisfy. And we do it because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that we might have been wrong all this time.

It’s a kind of obesity – we’re overstuffed with values that will never deliver on the promise.

Here’s an alternative idea. How about we grab hold of some life?

Peace – DEREK

The Life-Charged Life

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Excellent Blog Derek. If I may offer this scripture that underlines your point quite well.

    Isaiah 55

    1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, go ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; go and buy, and eat; yea wine and fat without money and without price.

    2 Wherefore do ye value at the price of money and give your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and lyour soul shall feast itself on good things.

    3 Give heed with your ear, and follow my ways; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.


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