On Black Friday, as a choral group sang “Let It Snow”, a Minnesota man threw $1,000 over the fourth floor railing at the Mall of America. Serge Vorobyov, a 29-year-old from Apple Valley, was trying to do something positive and spread a little holiday cheer.
It had been a difficult year for him: He was going through a divorce, and he’d lost his car-hauling business. His estranged wife had taken their cat, and had spurned his invitation to attend the dollar-throwing display.
To make matters worse, Mall of America security guards didn’t catch the holiday spirit. Vorobyov was arrested for disorderly conduct, then released at the scene; but security guards, worried that his stunt could have resulted in injury to shoppers, banned him from the Mall for a year.
The whole incident was apparently intended to draw attention, and possibly to drum up sympathy: Serge had stamped his YouTube address on the bills, and on his Facebook page, he called it a “publicity stunt”.
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I have some advice for Serge, who is now $1,000 poorer, hence in even more trouble than before:
When life is difficult, don’t expend your time and resources on a meaningless activity. Instead, take a deep breath and try the following:
- Say a prayer. Connecting with God can have positive results in ways you may not have considered:
- First, God really wants to give you what you need. That may not mean financial wealth, or even a lost love; perhaps He has an even bigger gift in mind. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
- Second, focusing not on personal gratification but on the greatness of God, trusting Him and seeking His will, will yield results far surpassing anything you could have concocted on your own.
- Give of yourself. Not through a random give-away like the Mall incident, but in a way that can really change lives. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Drive an elderly person to the doctor, or visit a nursing home. Donate blood to a blood drive. Read books for the blind.
- Get busy. Instead of focusing on your hurt and your wounds, read a good book. Enjoy dinner with friends. I suppose that Serge was doing this, sort of, when he planned the great dollar-drop at the Mall; but keep it up, my friend, while incorporating the points above. Keep doing things that take you outside of yourself.
- Watch what you put into your mind. Television, social media, contemporary music—all can skew the meaning of life, giving you a false sense of what’s really important, focusing on material wealth or personal gratification rather than on character development and spiritual growth. A good book or a good teacher can help you to refocus on what’s really important.
Good luck, Serge—and Merry Christmas! May the peace of the Christ Child touch your heart and bring you the joy that surpasses all understanding.