He’s a legend. His name is synonymous with wild, daring reckless, breath-taking stunts. He took unbelievable chances. Sometimes he made it and other times he did not.
Riding on motorcycles in gaudy, ostentatious clothing this stuntman jumped everything from rattlesnakes and mountain lions to double-decker buses. In California he successfully jumped 19 cars and landed his motorcycle on the other side. Broken bones, a month long coma and increased fame were the outcome of his failed jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. He pressured the Government for permission to jump the Grand Canyon but he had to settle for the Snake River Canyon. Saved by a parachute, he didn’t make it across.
But at 68 years of age most of his jumps and daring stunts are over. Inserted under his skin is a medical gizmo that pumps morphine and synthetic heroin into his back 24 hours around the clock. No – he doesn’t have cancer. But he has 40 bones in his body that were broken over those years and a back that was broken seven times.
Over the wild and famous years of daring stunts and soaring popularity, life was not all smooth for Evel Knievel. Bankruptcy, divorce, estranged family, jail lawsuits – suing and being sued marked those glamorous years. Even now, at 68 life’s bitterness colors his words and actions.
But something is happening with Evel Knievel. He no longer feels invincible. He’s thinking about God these days.
Jon Saraceno of USA Today said it so well:
“For years he cheated death, sometimes spectacularly so. Numerous crashes cemented his legend and all but guaranteed premature infirmity. These days, in what might be his last great gamble, Evel flies down the cosmic ramp of his final jump – the leap of faith…While he has avoided the inevitable countless times, he no longer feels invincible…After decades of hard jumps and harder living including bouts with alcoholism, Evel tries to bridge the psychological chasm between mortality and eternity.” (1)
The man who claims he was the first person on earth to pop a wheelie while standing on the seat of his motorcycle and the man who desperately wanted to jump the Grand Canyon is now looking towards another canyon he has to cross. It seems he’s wondering if he can get across successfully.
He says he thinks about his Creator often. “I think about God a lot more than ever… although I used to ask Him, ‘Help me make a good jump.’ I am awfully tough to get along with, but I’ll tell you what: I am a good person. I wish there was such a thing as reincarnation.”
“Suffering from the after effects of a stroke, Evel bets that a life of crime, fame and indulgence can be outweighed by his good works to those he inspired: children in burn wards, the downtrodden, soldiers. He says: ‘Veterans have told me that for some reason, I have made a difference in their lives…God, at least I have done something…if there is a heaven, I don’t know anything else I can do to get there – and neither do you.” (2)
Friend, you are facing the inevitable as well. You cannot cheat or escape death nor can you avoid crossing through the canyon between life and eternity by making some spectacular jump. The man, who successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses in Ohio, will not be able to jump death. And you won’t either.
Spending your days thinking about God more often and recalling all your good works provides a false sense of security. Evel Knievel has every reason to be worried and so do you if you don’t know Christ personally as your Saviour. The fact is: God isn’t factoring good deeds into the eternal life equation. Making kids laugh and soldiers happy does not help a person get to Heaven. God does not have a set of scales to weigh your good deeds against the wild oats you have sown in your life time.
Jesus said so clearly, more than once: “Except you repent, you will perish.” (Luke 13:3,5) Good works don’t cut it. You MUST repent. Repentance is a 180 degree change in your thinking about yourself and about God. “God you are 100% right. I have been dead wrong. I am exactly what you say I am – a sinner. I do not deserve to go to Heaven. I deserve nothing but punishment in Hell.” That’s repentance. Do you have a moment of repentance?
What Evel Knievel needs to hear and you too is that God loves sinners. He hates their sin but He dearly loves them – regardless of their past. His love is so great and so strong, that He sent His Son Jesus to this earth to die on a Cross. He placed your sins, my sins, Evel’s sins and the sins of the entire world upon His Son, the Innocent One and then God punished Jesus for those sins.
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
You can be totally and freely forgiven today of all your sins. How? Repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.(Acts 20:21)
Don’t gamble with your life any longer. Don’t sport with death. Don’t imagine you’ll get across somehow. Don’t trick yourself into thinking everything will be okay.
Accept Christ today. If you would like more information click here.
(1), (2) http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2007-01-02-knievel-cover_x.htm
Picture 1 – Wikipedia
Picture 2 – Jim M. Stern for USA Today