(THE MAN OF GOD)
Once upon a time, there existed a very wealthy man called John Davidson Rockefeller of America¬¬. He was born on July 8, 1839 in Richford, New York. He was a billionaire of international standard. He was already the richest man in the whole world, at the age of forty. He was living without God in the world. But one day, God Almighty touched him; and he served Him for the rest of his life. He had a humble beginning, and was hardworking as far back to his teenage years; even at the age of 16. Rockefeller excelled in oil business in his early forties. He achieved near monopoly in : refining, transporting and marketing oil; founder of Standard Oil Trust company.
The company expanded, expanded both horizontally by buying up oil refining companies, and vertically by acquiring oils and transportation routes and selling products at the retail level. It pursued a monopoly.
He had everything money could buy: cars, houses, industries and so on. He had the best of medical care, women, drinks and security men. Rockefeller had many security men, even up to his bedroom door. They were also in all his companies. Many bodyguards used to follow him about. He felt on top of the world: that he had everything money could buy. And he began to live without God in the world. He thought his purpose of coming into this world: was to make money at all cost, and to use it the way he liked. He looked at himself, he had no problem. He felt those serving God, were those who had one problem or the other. And he forgot all about his creator!
But one day, something happened to him. A mysterious sickness came upon him. The relations took him to the best hospitals in America; but they couldn’t cure him. They couldn’t even diagnose his sickness. The hairs in his body were falling off. He was dying! There was no solution to his problem.
They had to fly in renowned medical doctors from abroad; who came to treat him. They couldn’t. When the last medical doctor examined him: he told him he had only seven days to live. He advised him to go and prepare for death. He told him, he would surely die on the seventh day. He shouldn’t allow anybody to deceive him.
And the young man was taken home. Days began to pass. It became news all over the country and beyond; that the richest man in the world would soon die. Of course, the newspapers, radio, and television stations carried the news. The count down to his death started. A day to the day he should die (on the sixth day); he was very sober. He gathered all his security men, and asked them a question.
“Where were all of you, when the sickness passed through you to attack me?” They couldn’t answer the question. He also asked them, how came about only him had the sickness; and none of them around him had it? He said they were supposed to be guarding his life. As they were not able to protect his life; they were no longer useful to him. He sacked them!
That same day, he suddenly remembered what the mother told him, when he was very young. He grew up from a Christian family. Then, he was under the care of the parents. His mother, Eliza Davison Rockefeller, was very religious and very disciplined. She taught John to work, to save, and to give to charities. She used to bring him up in the fear of the Lord. She taught him from the bible. They used to praise God and pray together. They had family altar. The mother used to take him to the church (Baptist church). He was serving the Lord then. And when he was about to leave home, the mother called and admonished him.
She told him, as he was leaving home, he should put God first in whatever he was doing: because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge–Ps 111:10. She said further, he shouldn’t allow material things to cause him to forget his Creator, Jehovah. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever”– 1John 2:16-17.
Finally, she quoted a passage in the epistle of Timothy that says, “the love of money; is the root of all evil”. Then the mother handed over the bible to him. He left with it; but never opened the bible for one day to read from it.
But, that day he remembered, as he was at the point of death. He called on his wife to help him trace that passage in the scripture that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil”. The wife equally did not know where to find the quotation. As the wife of a very wealthy man: she felt she had no need, or time to study the word of God, pray, or attend fellowships. She did not even know, whether the quotation was in the Old Testament, or in the New Testament of the bible.
She started to search from the book of Genesis, in the Old Testament. She scanned through the bible, as it was an urgent assignment which could save the life of her beloved husband.. It took her several hours to trace that quotation in the bible that says; “the love of money; is the root of all evil”. She then brought the bible to the husband. He read through it, and shook his head. He took it to his room. He locked the door and knelt down.
And he began to pray unto the Lord, the creator of the whole universe, for the first time in decades. He began to confess his sins, and prayed for God’s forgiveness and healing. He humbled himself before Him. It then dawned on him that his wealth, security men, his aids, his lawyers, and so on; couldn’t save him from the impending calamity. He realized only God could save him. And as he was praying and confessing his sins: he noticed he was getting better. He prayed throughout the night.
And early in the morning, he discovered to his greatest surprise; that the Lord had healed him of his strange sickness, completely and miraculously. When he stood up, he observed the sickness had gone. Meanwhile, people of all works of life, including journalists, gathered in his compound, because they all knew he would die that day. They went to see his dead body with their eyes. Many of them went with their cameras to take photographs of his expected dead body, and make money from it. But they were amazed by what they saw.
Instead of seeing him dead, they saw Rockefeller coming to them with a big bible! When he went close to them, they were surprised to see him alive. He told them he knew many of them gathered there, in order to carry the news of his death: and make money from it. He saw many of them with cameras, obviously to snap pictures of his dead body. Reporters of media houses were there also. He told them, “The Rocky Feller you used to hear of, is different from the one you are seeing now. For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away, everything becomes new –2cor. 5:17.
He told them to beware of the pride of life. “Whatever you are today, should not prevent you from serving God. For naked we come into the world; and naked we will go”. His repentance was a genuine one. He served God faithfully. He used most of his wealth to serve God; and spread the gospel. Rockefeller had a clear conscience about how he won his fortune. “God gave me the money,” he often said. Believing that, he felt a profound obligation to put the money to good use. He gave to charity. He gave grants for medical research to virtually all universities in the world then. He died when he was about ninety-eight years of age; in an old age, wealthy, and righteous man. He served God faithfully unto death; his enormous wealth and status notwithstanding.
A devout Baptist, Rockefeller began giving his money away. Over the next few years Rockefeller gave over $500 million in aid of medical research, universities and Baptist churches. He was the single-most generous donor to the northern Baptist conventions, and he underwrote the work of missionaries and relief workers at home and abroad. He also took a deep interest in higher education for African Americans. Rockefeller called the University of Chicago his best-ever investment.
He set up the Rockefeller Foundation to “promote the well-being of mankind”. He was equally distinguished as a philanthropist. A natural businessman with a strong moral sense and intense religious convictions, he dedicated unprecedented resources to charity. Within his lifetime, Rockefeller helped launch the field of biomedical research, funding scientific investigations that resulted in vaccines for things like meningitis and yellow fever.
He revolutionized medical training in the United States, and built China’s first proper medical school. He championed the cause of public sanitation, creating schools of public health at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, and helped lead major international public health efforts against hookworm, malaria, yellow fever, and other maladies. He vigorously promoted the cause of education nationwide, without distinction of sex, race, or creed. He created the University of Chicago, virtually from scratch, and within a decade turned it into one of the world’s leading universities.
He realized soon after his repentance that service to God and humanity are things that last. Other things are vanities; for naked we came to this world, and naked we will go. King Solomon in his splendour, realized the temporal nature of life here: that all is vanity. He said, he built himself houses, and planted vineyards. Also, he made himself gardens and orchards; planted all kinds of trees in them. As well, he made water pools for irrigation, acquired male and female servants, had large herds and flocks. He gathered silver and gold, among other things. He had whatever his heart desired, and did not withhold his heart from any pleasure. Then, he looked at all his possessions and achievements, and observed they were all vanities. He knew he would one day leave them behind for the man that would come after him—Eccl.2.
There was a certain ungodly rich man, who had chains of companies, houses, and other business interests. But, he wasn’t rich towards God. He had over twenty fierce-looking Alsatian dogs, guarding his residence. He had bodyguards and armed escorts. He personally had guns, and telephone lines for security calls. He had a well fortified house: surrounded by high wall, with electrified barbwires. But, he never cared to worship Almighty God. He used to lie with females: both married and unmarried; and never cared to reverence God.
But one day, armed robbers struck. They ‘demobilized’ all his dogs. Then, they broke into his mansion and carted away his valuables. The robbers emptied the money in his safe. They carried millions! Then, they drove off in his exotic cars. Unless the Lord watches over a city; they that watch do so in vain.
He used to count his bags of money every mid-night at the close of business, with his cashier for hours. He hardly slept on daily basis. At the close of business, all the money realized would be brought to his house in bags. One night, he was busy counting money till the early hours of the morning as usual. Suddenly, he collapsed, fell on top of the bundles of money he was counting, and died on the spot. The wife, and the hard-working cashier, had to rush the body to mortuary. Then counting of money continued. Later, the “carcass” was buried. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul?
Death is a mere separation from the body: a continuation of eternal; life for those who obey God Almighty, the creator of the whole universe. When somebody dies, it is the physical body that actually dies. The real person (the soul), goes to either paradise or hell; depending on whether he has repented or not. Paradise is a blissful place of rest for the soul of the righteous; while is a place of torment for those who rebel against God. Our main purpose of living on earth is for us to use our temporary lives here to worship and reverence God, so that we will be counted worthy of everlasting life.
Death is inevitable. People of all age groups and all works of life die. God Almighty has not planned it that everybody should get old before dying. If He allows it, many will be waiting for the time they will be getting old before they repent. That is why the scripture says, today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may be too late. “Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow: For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Therefore, we should use our temporary lives here on earth to serve God and humanity. God said, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, said the LORD.” We came into this world with nothing; and we shall depart with nothing.
John Davidson Rockefeller, like any other righteous person, has gone to be with his creator—God Almighty. Although his physical body returned to the earth (buried), the real him (his spirit), has gone to be with the LORD. He is now in paradise. In the time of resurrection, righteous people will be clothed with immortal bodies. And they will live forever. They will occupy houses (including mansions); structures not built by human beings.
God has allowed us to live a limited number of years here on earth; in order to try and prove us; if we will worship Him wholeheartedly. Then, we will be worthy for eternal life. At the initial stage of human existence, The LORD allowed people to live for hundreds of years before dying. Adam lived for 930 years in earth. Methuselah existed for 969 years and died. At a stage, God said, “My spirit shall no longer strive with man. I will give him 120 years to mend his ways.” Even at that, most people hardly live up to eighty years before they are gone. Life here is like a vapour that vanishes away.
This the time for everyone, big and small, to repent and mend his ways before God. Our physical bodies are glorified sands. One day, they will return to the sand, for from there were we created.