Every May about 30,000 people come to visit us in Omaha. The people are great; they’re friendly, happy, and help the local economy. We like them. However, we may not even notice them if it were not for their lanyards and large badges. So we do see them; and people like me, locals from behind a pair of Oakley’s out walking our kids, we watch them. I also try to learn.
I am talking about the great multitude that comes to Omaha to attend the Berkshire Hathaway (“Berkie’s”) shareholder’s meeting. They come to visit with Omaha’s own, Warren Buffett and hear his perspective and plan for the company (and anything else he might happen to say).
One perennial observation that I make is with regard to these badges. The people wear them everywhere. Now part of this is economic-shareholders get discounts at the business in town that Buffet either owns or has significant influence over. So I get why you would be wearing the badge at Borsheim’s jewlery store, but why do the Berkie’s rock the lanyard as they de-board the planes, walk in the parks, go to the rest rooms, or hit up a local coffee house?
Let me venture a guess: since the Fall of Adam in Genesis 3 we have been craving identity, significance, deliverance, security, hope, and rest. We hitch our carts to various horses that we think will bring us back to Eden. Warren Buffett and his company stand out. He has identity, significance, security, and apparent hope. In other words, Buffett is laying the bricks back to Eden. With each successive decision he makes he is saying, “Follow me. I’ll take you where you want to go.”
I am not saying that Buffett puts himself out as a Savior but he does serve as a functional savior. People latch onto him and his business for the rest that they truly crave. Furthermore, they latch onto him at the annual meeting because they crave the community of fellow “Berkies.” They are part of something bigger and better than themselves. It is attractive.
As Christians we can hear the faint gospel notes in these observations. We know that Jesus alone can provide identity, significance, deliverance, security, hope, and rest. He alone, by virtue of his doing and dying for us, can safely bring us back to Eden. In fact, he brings us to a better place, paradise restored. He brings us to that grand city, the New Jerusalem, where “No chilling winds or poisonous breath can reach that healthful shore; sickness and sorrow, pain and death, are felt and feared no more.”
This is why the celebration of the gospel and communion of saints is the most significant human experience available. In the church we live under the banner of the gospel, in community with one another, and march ahead toward the Celestial City. May the “Berkie’s” boasting in their identity rebuke, encourage, or refresh our own.