Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Nobel Deed

The sermon last Sunday proved to me -- once again -- that no matter how much I read, there’s always something that I don’t know. Also, my naivety never ceases to amaze me. There’s not much I can do about it except to pick up and carry on, so let’s do that.

There was once a rich man. He’d become rich with the best of intentions. Due to the dangerous nature of the family business, several deaths had occurred. Including the death of his brother. He dedicated his life to making the business safer. He was successful and it paid off handsomely. He became a very wealthy man.

In one of those little twists of fate that drive men mad and make life so interesting, a newspaper erroneously published his obituary. Imagine, reading your own obituary. What would it say ? This was from a sermon after all and that was the point of it. I think it’s a good point. We should all take the time to examine our lives from time to time.

After examining this man’s life, the newspaper said, Alfred Nobel -- “a merchant of death.”

I suspect many of you had already heard this story. I certainly knew the rest of it. Alfred Nobel, the inventor dynamite, used his fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes. I even knew that his determination to make nitroglycerin safer was what led to his invention of dynamite. I vaguely recall the part about his brother dying in an explosion. I’d just never heard the part about what drove him to create the Nobel Prizes. Nor had I ever thought that there might have been an event to spur him to do so.

What’s the moral of this story ? I certainly don’t know. If you can figure out all the twists and turns -- making something safer contributes to more deaths, the profits from death further the cause of peace, The Fates reach out to change history (again), a modern invention winds up in a message about The Gospel -- well, if you can figure all that out, you’re a lot smarter than me. Besides, “my only goal is to provide thoughts, ideas and information.” Where my thoughts take me isn’t important. It’s where your thoughts take you.

Don Brown
March 29, 2007

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