Twenty Years of Pleasure

Allen Stanford was the chairman of the Stanford Financial Group. He and his father made a fortune for themselves by purchasing depressed real estate and selling it years later when the market recovered. He then became involved in investments and amassed a great fortune for himself, worth over a billion dollars. But, for the past few years, he has been under investigation for operating a Ponzi scheme, returning to investors the money that others have invested, rather than returning profit earned with the money. On June 14, 2007, Allen Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison for cheating investors of more than $7 billion over two decades. During these decades, he lived a lifestyle of pleasure. He owned yachts and private jets. He resided in the Caribbean and was able to sponsor cricket tournaments for his enjoyment.

Anyone who is involved in a Ponzi scheme knows that the doomsday is coming. The time when you can no longer attract the investors needed to sustain the scheme. And for Allen Stanford, his time has come. All the wealth that he enjoyed for decades is all gone. In exchange, he will live in a jail cell, where he will spend the rest of his life.

I ask you, what does it profit a man like Allen Stanford to live in luxury for a few years, only to live the rest of his life in prison? Perhaps one might argue that the 20 years of pleasure are worth the 20 years in prison. Now, what if he spent eternity in prison? Would the 20 years of pleasure be worth it? Twenty years compared to billions and billions of years in eternity? Nobody would argue that this is worth it. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

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