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One of my favorite movies is Citizen Kane. It was released in 1941, starring Orson Welles, who was also the director. Citizen Kane is often considered the greatest film of all time. (Probably, you’ll either love it or hate it.)
The film begins at the end. Charles Foster Kane, is dying. Once extremely powerful and popular, now he is all alone. Holding a snow globe, he utters his final word: “Rosebud.” What did “Rosebud” mean?
In the film a reporter becomes intrigued by the mystery of “Rosebud” and attempts to discover its meaning. In a series of flashbacks, it’s revealed that Kane’s childhood was spent in poverty. But his life changed when the world’s third largest gold mine was discovered on a piece of land owned by his mother. Kane is then sent away from his parents to be educated. To make a long story short, he becomes incredibly wealthy, but never finds true happiness.
At the end of the film, the reporter gives up trying to solve the meaning of “Rosebud” and concludes that it will forever remain a mystery. However, the film’s audience is shown the meaning of “Rosebud.” In the final scene, several workers are throwing into a furnace some of Kane’s possessions that are considered “junk.” One of the pieces of junk is Kane’s childhood sled—the same sled he was playing with on the day he was taken from his home. The camera zooms in toward the sled and reveals that its name is “Rosebud.”
Charles Foster Kane had gained everything under the sun. But the only time he was ever truly happy was as a child, sliding down the snowy hills on Rosebud.
Two Ways of Life
Life can be lived one of two ways: under the sun or with the Son.
Life under the sun is full of vanity.
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Eccles. 1:1-3).
The Hebrew word for “vanity” is hebel, which means “vapor,” “wind,” or “breath.” Life “under the sun” probably refers to life in a fallen world. As Paul writes in Romans 8:20, “Creation was subjected to futility.”
Life under the sun is frustrating (like chasing the wind) and fleeting (like a vapor). “Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Ps. 39:5). “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Many people are filled with emptiness. They are constantly chasing after something (money, possessions, pleasure, power, etc.), but in the end (like Charles Foster Kane) they are left unsatisfied.
Life with the Son is full of hope.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
Because the grave is empty, our lives don’t have to be empty.
1. Our faith is not empty (1 Cor. 15:12-19).
Don’t despair, your sins are forgiven!
2. Our future is not empty (1 Cor. 15:20-24, 35-38, 42-57).
Don’t despair, your reality will be transformed!
3. Our labor is not empty (1 Cor. 15:30-32, 58).
Don’t despair, your service matters!
If all you know is life under the sun, you will always be searching for “something more.” But if you have experienced life through the death and resurrection of the Son, you are promised “something more.”
Keep on believing; keep on hoping; keep on working!
A Life-Changing Weekend
There are over 100 books in print with titles that include the phrase “…That Changed the World.” Here are a few examples:
Gunpowder: The History of the Explosive That Changed the World
Mayflower: The Voyage That Changed the World
Model T Ford: The Car That Changed the World
Glass: The Story of the Substance That Changed the World
The Cable: The Wire That Changed the World
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
The Twist: The Story of the Song and Dance That Changed the World
Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World
You might wonder how the twist or mauve changed the world, but there is another book on the list that really is about a world-changing subject: The Weekend That Changed the World: The Mystery of Jerusalem’s Empty Tomb. The empty grave has changed my world. Has it changed yours?