A Stark Reminder

J. D. Conley
August 17, 2014

The recent death of comedian/actor Robin Williams has shocked and shaken the entertainment industry. As of this writing his death appears to have been a suicide, a mode of death which always stirs questions and many times amazement. One of the questions which bespeaks to the amazement of his passing has been, "Why would someone who had immense wealth and fame be compelled to take his own life?" This is a query that befuddles many because fortune and fame are the impetus that drives those in Hollywood, and once that goal is reached, life is supposed to be joyful and worry free. And yet for Mr. Williams and a scores of others, that was/is simply not the case.

The Bible is replete with verses that emphasize not only the inability of wealth to secure happiness, but sometimes its the reason for misery. King Solomon who had the big three, wealth, fame and power, nonetheless bemoans his misery upon the dismal pages of Ecclesiastes, describing his possession of these in this emotional declaration, "Behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (Eccl.2:12). Because he speaks by both inspiration and personal experience, his pathos should be believed. Paul in his first letter to Timothy revealed, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1Tim.6:9-10). Yes indeed, the wrong attitude toward riches can rob us of happiness, instead of giving us happiness, and the misery is self-inflicted. Our Lord spoke about "the deceitfulness of riches," (Mt.13:22), trying to impress upon the human mind how happiness and joy is not derived from anything attached to this material world. In the sermon on the mount He underscored the need to not lay up earthly treasures, but lay up heavenly treasures, (Mt.6:19-20). The Divine warning has been issued, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Lk.12:15).

The death of this entertainment giant prompts this stark reminder: A life of happiness, and fulfillment is found only in Christ (Phi.4:4), and nowhere else.