At age 45 Howard Hughes dated actresses, test-piloted exotic aircraft, and worked on top-secret CIA contacts. He owned a chain of hotels around the world, and even an airline – TWA.
20 years later, at the age of 65, Hughes still had plenty of money – $2.3 billion – the richest man of his day. But he was also one of the most pathetic.
He now lived in small, dark rooms atop his hotels, the curtains pulled. His scraggly beard was waist-length. His hair fell most of the way down his back. His fingernails were two inches long. His 6’4” frame now weighed about 100 pounds.
The famous eccentric now spent most of his time watching movies. Sometimes he watched the same movie 150 times. He lay naked in bed – deathly afraid of germs. He cut himself off entirely from the outside world. His only companions were those he hired to care for him. In the end, emaciated and hooked on drugs, he died at the age of 67 – for lack of a medical device his own company had helped to develop.
In the 12th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says something that applies: “Watch out! Be on our guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Jesus goes on to tell the parable of the rich fool, a man who sighed with relief that he had financial security for his retirement. All his ducks were in a row. But God paid a visit that night and said: “You fool! This very night your very life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Time is running out for each one of us. The story of the rich fool prompts the old question: “Is that all there is?” There’s got to be more to life than a few short years and a pile of junk and retirement funds that won’t fit into the casket.
There is! “Do not be afraid, little flock,” says Jesus, “for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom…a treasure in heaven that will never be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” “Jesus, priceless Treasure!” Believe this! And pass it on!