Daily Devotionals

Devotional: July 24th

Recently, a friend and I sat down and conversed about death. It wasn't a morbid conversation but a rather light hearted one as we talked about how scary death is to so many and how welcome others view it. Then he shared a nugget of information with me that I didn't know. "Did you know that Henry Ford had a bottle in which he kept Thomas Edison's last breath?" Oddly enough, it's true. Ford and Edison were close friends. When Edison died in 1931 Ford was at his bedside and caught Edison's last breath in a bottle and then capped it. He still had it when he died in 1947.

The ways in which the famous view death is a mixed bag of humor and darkness. For instance, Woody Allen once remarked, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying." On the other hand, writer Virginia Woolf, afraid she was going mad, killed herself by filling he pockets with rocks and jumping into a river. Director Otto Preminger said of actress Rachel Roberts" suicide, "I wouldn't be surprised with half the actors I have known."

Meanwhile, rock music has not been a place for longevity unless your name is Mick Jagger or Keith Richards. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, Duane Allman, Brian Jones (with Jagger and Richards), Brian Cole, Ron Pigpen McKernan and Marc Bolen all died before they turned thirty. The list multiplies if you look at those who died before turning forty. Dion, of Dion and the Belmonts, was supposed to be on the plane with Buddy Holly the night of his death. Dion thought it was too expensive and turned it down. "I was cheap," he explained. And he lived.

Perhaps the most interesting story of a celebrity death is that of W. C. Fields, who was an avowed agnostic; he wasn't sure if there was a God and he didn't really care. However, on his death bed he was found reading a Bible. When asked why he responded, "I'm looking for a loophole." That is the problem with celebrity. Once you choose to live life at your own terms then you have to face death and wonder if your terms are acceptable on the off chance that there really is a God.

Fields was a little late to look into the Word of God. His life of self-indulgence and ignorance of God's will left no "loophole." "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galatians 6:7, 8 Live life at God's command and death need not be a matter of looking for a loophole, but realizing the sweet reward of being in Christ.

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