To many it’s just another day on the calendar. To others, it means new clothes, family pictures and a big meal. To some it’s one of two days out of the year they go to church. To others, it’s chocolate bunnies and hunting for Easter eggs.
Wayne Smith used to tell the story of Philip, a nine-year-old boy with serious physical and mental challenges, who was a part of a Sunday school class in a small Methodist Church in Kentucky. Everyone knew Phillip was different and really wasn’t a part of the class.
The Sunday before Easter the teacher brought some empty plastic eggs that used to contain pantyhose to the class. She gave an egg to each child and said, “Go out this week and find something that represents life and bring it back in your egg for Easter Sunday.” The kids were excited and looked forward to coming back with their eggs full the next week.
Easter Sunday arrived and so did the class of eight and nine year olds … with their eggs. The teacher began to open them. The first egg had a flower inside. It belonged to a little girl. The teacher said, “That’s good.” Then she opened the second egg and inside was a butterfly. It belonged to another girl. “Another good one,” she said. The teacher opened the third egg and inside was a rock. She asked, “Who’s egg is this?” The class clown, Johnny, raised his hand and everyone laughed.
Then the teacher opened the fourth egg and it was empty. “It’s empty,” she said. “Who’s egg is this?” No one volunteered. One of the children said, “Whoever did that messed up.” Another child chimed in, “Someone must be stupid.” The whole class laughed, wondering who it might be.
The teacher felt a tug and looked down. It was Philip. “The egg is mine, teacher.” One of the boys said, “Phillip, you never do anything right. Your egg is empty.”
“I know it’s empty, ” Phillip answered. “The tomb was empty.”
There was a long silence in the class and the teacher said, “You’re right, Phillip. The tomb was empty and the tomb is still empty.” From then on, Phillip was accepted by everyone in the class.
The tomb was empty and the tomb is still empty.
That summer, Phillip died. His parents knew he wouldn’t live a long life. But in July, an infection set in that he couldn’t survive. At the funeral, nine eight and nine-year-old kids, in single file, led by their teacher, walked up to the casket and each placed an empty egg inside.
That my friends, is EASTER!
© 2017. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.