What I learned about integrity as an Enron shareholder. . .

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May 21, 2014

Matthew 6:19-23

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

CONSIDER THIS. . .

Disintegrated.

What comes to mind when you hear the word, “disintegrated”? I immediately think of a bomb disintegrating a building; blowing something up into such unrecognizable particles that it is, for all practical purposes, gone.

Enron comes to mind. I lived in Houston through the days of Enron’s meteoric rise to world dominance in the energy market. As a pastor to some of Enron’s higher level executives, I was privy to  “insider” information as to where the company was headed in their global conquest. It was mind-blowing to fathom what they had in mind. Other parishioners of mine, who worked in competing organizations regularly referred to the E of Enron as signifying the “Evil Empire.” I always chalked that up to “sour grapes.” Everyone else began to believe (including myself) that Enron had found the new paradigm and was reinventing the economy. It was nothing short of astonishing.

If I’m honest, as much as I loved and respected my Enron friends, my inner smoke alarm “chirped” on occasion. At the same time, I wanted to get in on “the deal.” From my legal training, I knew well that purchasing stock based on my insider knowledge could land me a few doors down the cell block from Martha Stewart. As a result, I took the proverbial high road, waited an obligatory period of time after I moved to another state and bought what few shares of stock I could afford at the time.

And, you guessed it. Within months of my proud purchase, Enron crashed — gone, finished, history. . . . . DISINTEGRATED. And let’s just say my stock shares took on a valuation approximating the worth of a few rolls of premium toilet paper. I knew better. Lesson learned. No matter how good something might look on the outside, if the inside tells a different story– don’t walk. . . RUN.

I’m coming to believe that the lesson at the heart of Jesus’ teaching in THE SERMON comes down to one word: integrity. Integrity, or integration, is the fruit of a singular focus on the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Wesley gets at it in this paragraph:

The eye is the intention: what the eye is to the body, the intention is to the soul. As the one guides all the motions of the body, so does the other those of the soul. This eye of the soul is then said to be single when it looks at one thing only; when we have no other design but to “know God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent”—to know him with suitable affections, loving him as he has loved us; to please God in all things; to serve God (as we love him) with all our heart and mind and soul and strength; and to enjoy God in all and above all things, in time and in eternity. p.161

It’s funny, but I never made the connection until recently: Disintegration means dis-integration. Dis-integrity, sooner or later, always leads to disintegration. See what I mean?

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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