October 14, 2013
How Much is Enough?
And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.” (2 Kings 19:15-16, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Howard was rich…very rich. His father made a fortune by designing a drill bit that could drill through hard rock, allowing oil drillers to reach large pockets of oil never before accessible. His tool company held the patent for the new drill bit, manufactured the bit, and leased it to oil companies who used it.
All through his childhood, Howard didn’t do well in conventional schools, but preferred learning by tinkering with mechanical things. When his mother forbade him to buy a motorcycle, he built a motor and attached it to his bicycle. Problem solved.
When Howard was just a teenager, both parents passed away, leaving him the million dollar estate. The teen was a loner and had very few friends. At age 19, Howard married Ella Rice and moved to Hollywood where he tried his hand at movie making with great success. Then in the mid-1930’s he gave up his obsession for film and delved into aviation. He bought several airplanes, hired numerous engineers and designers, and was determined to make faster, quicker, better planes. In 1944, Howard’s company designed a large flying boat that could carry both people and supplies to the war in Europe. The “Spruce Goose,” the largest plane ever constructed, was flown once in 1947 and then never flew again.
Howard was a billionaire when the idea of a millionaire was beyond the comprehension of ordinary people. While he was very successful in the world’s eyes, it was the “world’s eye” that he wanted to avoid. He withdrew from human contact, moved into Las Vegas’ Desert Inn Hotel, and rarely left his suite. When the hotel threatened to evict him, he bought the entire establishment, and then proceeded to buy up multiple Las Vegas establishments to extend his perimeter of control. For the next several years, not a single person laid eyes on the billionaire hermit.
Howard spent the rest of his life trying to avoid germs. His obsessive-compulsive behavior caused him lie naked in bed in darkened hotel rooms in what he considered a germ-free zone. He wore tissue boxes on his feet to protect them and never touched anything unless he was holding a paper towel.
In 1970, Howard left the hotel and travelled from one country to another. He ended up neglecting his own hygiene and living in squalid filth. He believed that germs came from the outside, but not from him self. He died in 1976 from heart failure. His 6’4” ninety-pound frame was covered in filth, his hair and beard were tangled and rancid, and his fingernails looked like claws. He had become such a hermit in his last years, no one was really sure it was him. The Treasury Department had to use fingerprints to confirm that the deceased man was indeed the billionaire, Howard Hughes.
Howard Hughes’ life screams a warning to us all. The golden calves man creates; the idols man worships; the false gods of a materialistic culture, will not lead to true happiness and joy in this life. They are mere “things.” It is only through a personal relationship with the Living God that you or I will experience abundant life on earth and eternal life thereafter.
Howard Hughes discovered just how ineffective the gods of people, possessions and power can be. He was one of the wealthiest men in history. He was one of the most miserable men in history. His 2.5 billion dollar estate was powerless to win the battle he faced every day.
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
Abundant life. Overflowing life. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6 NIV).
And He is enough.
O Living God, please forgive me for the false gods I have tucked in the recesses of my heart. I know that You are the only One who can fill my empty spaces and mend my broken places. You are El Chay, The Living God who always has been and always will be. You are the God Who hears, Who sees and Who stand ready to work Your wonders in my life.
In Jesus’s Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have any idols in your life?
Let me ask that a different way. Is there anything or any person that you tend to place ahead of God in your life? (I did have to go and make this practical, didn’t I?)
My toes are hurting too! Leave me a comment on my facebook page and let me know what people in general tend to put above God in their lives.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was adapted from our new Girlfriends in God book, Knowing God by Name. Throughout Scripture, God reveals His complex character by identifying Himself by different names—names that shed light on Who He is and how we should relate to Him. We invite you to join us in Knowing God by Name as we take an in-depth look at 40 different names that shed light on 40 different reasons you can trust Him, depend on Him, and know that He loves you. Click here to learn more and download a free sample chapter.
Also, if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to sign up for my blog for more inspiration, encouragement, and fun give-aways. (Content does not duplicate GiG devotions.)
Originally published Monday, 14 October 2013.