by Bob Wickizer

Joseph and Ahaz
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 7:10-17; Psalm 24:1-7; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25
Advent 4, 23 December 2001

I want to start with a bold premise today. Our relationship with God and our relationship with God's Word determine how and what we think about other people. {repeat this}

Take the recent case of Enron CEO Kenneth Lay leading a multi-billion dollar energy company into bankruptcy. Sadly part of the problems building up to this debacle involved corporate "misstatements of earnings" (lies in ordinary language) and accounting audit discrepancies (They cooked the books in everyday language.) Over the years Enron had encouraged its employees to purchase company stock as the mainstay of their retirement plans. In the past few months as regular employees watched their retirement accounts plummet from $200,000 to $1,000 the company locked out their own employees from selling their stock on the ride down. Unlike regular employees the CEO and other senior executives were not prevented from cashing out large holdings of stock and they did so often during the final months before bankruptcy at enormous profits. As this information has become public over the past few weeks Lay has not once apologized or even recognized the retirement disaster he has created for tens of thousands of loyal employees.

Far away from Houston and the Enron disaster in one of the poorest counties in the United States, the grandson of a rabbi moved into the corporate limelight when his Lawrence Massachusetts textile mill burned down just before Christmas in 1995. Nearing retirement age, Aaron Feuerstein could very easily have taken the insurance money and retired to a comfortable life. He also could have easily rebuilt his textile mill in Central America to exploit lower labor costs. Instead he promptly announced that he would rebuild the factory on the same site. He paid bonuses to the laborers building the new factory and he paid his workers for nearly a year w ...

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