Summary: Our church uses the Sunday after Easter for Remembrance, honoring those of our church deceased in the previous year. This sermon mines eternal values from each of their lives.
We are ready to fight for security. The one thing we all want,
whether we be aggressive and hostile and always ready to
strike out, or whether we be quiet and retiring and always
ready to run – the one thing we all are ready to fight for is
security. We need to know that our futures are solid. And
when the things on which we base our security are
threatened, we are ready to fight.
The trouble is that we’re looking at the wrong basis for
security. We have assumed that security lies in things like
bank accounts and weapons and houses and position.
These have turned out to be shaky. We have fought for all
the wrong things.
Have you heard of Enron? Enron is an energy company in
Houston; some of Enron’s executives were so invested in
financial security that they “cooked the books” to hide losses,
they conspired with other companies to create phony
partnerships, and they enticed their auditors into covering up
the truth. All that to drive up the stock price, cash out huge
profits, and then turn a blind eye as the company crashed
and burned and wiped out thousands of employees and
small investors. Enron has become an icon of greed; it is an
example of the pursuit of selfish wealth even when that
undermines the security of many other people. Enron is a
symbol of human sin that is deeper than stock prices and
broader than accounting fraud; it is a symbol of our desire to
base ourselves on things material and not on things spiritual.
Things that pass away and not on things that are eternal.
But it would be too easy to bash Enron this morning and
forget that its story is our story, too. Enron may be huge,
and you and I small, but the principle is the same. We too
fight to secure ourselves on things material. What foolish
things we do to achieve material security! And at what cost
I thought about this the other day as my wife and I planned
our grocery shopping expedition. We are dyed-in-the-wool
coupon shoppers. If I have a little slip of paper that says “50
cents off” on some bottle of detergent, I have to have that
detergent! So when I see Sudso on sale, and I have a
coupon, and better yet it’s at a store that doubles coupons, I
will break the sound barrier to pick up my box of Sudso.
Never mind that I already have five boxes on the shelf.
Never mind that the store is out in Lower Slobbovia. This is
a bargain, worth fighting for! So I fight the traffic and the
crowds, and I spend a lot of time to save a couple of dollars.
I am fighting for things material, that do not matter in the end.
It’s Enronism, at my little personal level.
And it won’t let go. We have a reimbursement system here
at the church. When I go out and spend money on behalf of
the church, I can get it reimbursed when I have spent at least
$50. That’s designed to keep our treasurer from writing
innumerable little checks; I submit a list when I have spend
at least $50 for parking fees and postage and whatever, and
I will be reimbursed. But I’ve discovered that when that total
gets up to about $40 or $45, I can hardly wait until I am up to
that $50 boundary! You would think that that $50 was the
difference between bankruptcy and solvency! $48 – now
where can I find a couple more dollars in expenses so that I
can claim my check?! So I fight the calendar, I fight the
church’s policy, and I spend my energy, to have now what I
could easily wait for. I am fighting for things material, that do
not matter in the end. It’s Enronism, at my little personal
But we are here today to declare that Enron has been
trumped by Easter, and that there is something better to fight
for than those things which pass away. We are here today
to learn how to fight for eternity.
We do well to begin by reminding ourselves of what is
perfectly obvious, and that is that earthly life, is not eternal.
There is no way we can change that. Every living thing will
ultimately wear out and die. Even the Queen Mum, whom
they thought might go on forever, finally succumbed after
101 years of hand-waving! No amount of finagling the books
or accumulating wealth or preserving strength will make us
eternal. We are going to die. And the Bible warns us that it
is very foolish indeed to suppose that we can beat that rap:
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with