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What Will You Leave Behind?

posted Nov 3, 2014, 11:19 PM by hbchurch org

Even a casual reflection upon the passions of some rich men who have made a mark on our nation’s history can be mind-boggling. A visit to Hearst Castle can cause one to ponder the question posed in the title of this article. William Randolph Hearst certainly left his mark on the twentieth century as well as a hilltop above San Simeon, California.

In the eyes of most folks like us, people might think, “He had it all”. Yes, he had and spent a lot of money. His father, George, struck it rich in California in the early 1850’s. Gold and silver interests allowed his only son, William Randolph, to learn all the ins and outs of how to be a rich kid. He was so good at it that he got booted out of Harvard. Neither his father’s money or influence were enough to get him readmitted. He could have cared less. He had bigger “fish to fry”.

He wanted to build an empire of newspapers so he could influence people’s thinking. He was a pioneer in “yellow journalism”, i.e. sensationalizing news reports coupled with crude exaggeration aimed at turning people to his political bias. It appears that he used these techniques to get the U.S. into a war with Spain in 1898.

In 1919 he decided to build “a little something” on the hilltop campsite at the ranch. Hearst and architect, Julia Morgan, produced the “castle” millions visit today. The structure is only part of the story. His assortment of ancient artifacts housed there is probably worth more than the real estate. Many are priceless. Experts come from all over the world to examine them. His collection of Greek pottery is unequaled.

Pictures of Mr. Hearst with celebrities and famous people portray a happy man. He seemed to enjoy the life style that very few can afford, although he almost lost it in the Great Depression. But what did all this opulence really get him and what did he leave behind?

Because of his selfishness, his family was a wreck. His wife and five sons had money and he had his mistress. His sons were tormented by their father’s infidelity; a tragic legacy to leave behind. Hearst was an avid reader and his library was nothing short of spectacular. His brain was saturated with facts including many he could quote from the Bible, but the word of God did not prick his heart. He certainly loved things and perhaps some people, but he did not love God.

Hearst’s “stuff” often causes men to “ooh and ah” when they see the visible marks of his sojourn on earth. But when he left this world he left it ALL behind. When he stands before the Lord, he, like all of us, will be judged by the same standard — the word of the Lord (John 12:48).

In 1937 he was able to sell 20,000 objects from his collection and also get a million dollars from family to avert bankruptcy. But there are no rescue lines beyond the grave; death severs them all (Heb. 9:27). When we die we must be ready to meet the Lord in judgment; there are no second chances. All that we have done and seen and accumulated in this life will be left behind. Only one thing matters, our relationship to God. Jesus is the only way to Him (John 14:6). The gospel alone will save us (Rom. 1:16). Are you ready to leave everything in this world behind and stand before the Lord in judgment?