Beau Brummel has long been considered an important figure in Regency history. His friendship with the Prince Regent and his charm and wit brought him influence and prestige. He became the ultimate arbiter of fashion, with many historians crediting him with the transition from knee breeches to trousers.
Unfortunately, Brummel is also famous for fleeing to France to escape debtor’s prison. It was a temporary fix as he ended up in debtor’s prison in France a few years after fleeing there. By the time he died, all his gloss and glamour has disappeared, leaving him a slovenly pauper.
The saddest part of this story is that shortly after resigning his commission, he inherited £30,000. This was a veritable fortune in the early 19th century and he should have been able to live comfortably for the rest of his life. His pride was his downfall.
The “friends” he made through his connection with Prinny were all much wealthier than he was and he spent extravagantly and borrowed abundantly to maintain a similar lifestyle. He built himself the proverbial house of cards and it all came fluttering down.
The combination of pride and money proved deadly for Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Pride made them desirous of the recognition a large donation to the church would bring, but their desire for money made them deceitful. They held back a portion of the money from the sale of their land and then claimed to the church that they were donating everything. It cost them their life.
Modern Day Freedom
God has called my family and I in a different direction than He took my brother and my parents. The struggle to learn that I could do without some of the things they bought was a long and hard one for me. We ended up with a large amount of debt. It took us several years and some outside help to dig our way out of it.
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I didn’t want to admit that we couldn’t’ afford to go on vacation with my extended family or that I couldn’t pay for my part of a group gift. Pride made me look to other solutions and got me into trouble. My focus was more on worldly things than Godliness.
“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Luke 16:13
So often we want to be like other people. We want the designer clothes or the fancy cars or the big houses. When we can’t truly afford it, the temptation to turn to credit cards and loans becomes greater. Pride can drive us into serious money issues if we aren’t careful. If we find the strength to swallow our pride and say “I can’t afford that” we just might find a little more of that abundant life God wants to provide us.
For me that included a lot less stress, a truer understanding of what really brought me joy in life, and a closer relationship with my family because honest lines of communication were being opened. I think all of that is worth way more than my petty pride.