If you are younger, Art Linkletter’s name may mean nothing to you. For older ones, Art Linkletter was a household name for years. He was a legend in show business for sixty five years. But his fame is now a memory. He’s gone. He passed away on May 26, 2010 at the age of 97.

Mr. Linkletter was a man of many accomplishments. Definitely a celebrity. He was the only person in history to have five network television shows running in prime time simultaneously.

Born in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, he was adopted in infancy by a Baptist preacher and his wife. Money was not flush in those days for preachers – especially street preachers. Art Linkletter reminisced about a life of poverty in his early years as his parents tried to preach the Gospel and make ends meet. But after a modest beginning, the doors of worldly success swung open to Linkletter on many fronts. Starting off in radio, he soon became a television star.

People Are Funny ran on NBC-TV and Radio for 19 years and was rated in the Top 10 for more than 11 years.  House Party ran on CBS-TV and Radio for 26 years and was one of the top daytime shows from the day of its first broadcast in 1945.  It won 2 Emmy Awards, as well as numerous other nominations for awards.  In addition, Art Linkletter starred in and co-produced many spectaculars and specials, as well as acting in half a dozen dramatic shows and several major motion pictures. He was a well known author having written one of the top non-fiction bestsellers in the history of publishing – Kids Say the Darndest Things.  The book led all sellers for 2 years and was #14 on the list of all non-fiction published in the United States. (1) Years later, Bill Cosby hosted a CBS television show using the name of the popular book.

Linkletter was an astute businessman. The owner of Linkletter Enterprises, he owned millions of acres in Australia and was a sheep and cattle rancher. He also owned oil wells and was a spokesman for several products.  (2)

Art Linkletter was interviewed by Larry King on CNN’s Larry King Live show in 2005. It was Linkletter’s 93rd birthday. Here are some excerpts from that interview: (3)

Doctor, how much longer do I have?”

KING: Do you think about mortality?

LINKLETTER: Yes, because my friends keep dying. And I say that not to get a laugh, but the fact is, that one of the saddest things about outliving your normal lifespan, according to science — I should have been dead in 1959, ’59. That’s 47 years after 1912, when I was born.

But when you live past that, and you have a child who’s 67, you begin to think, “How much longer can I go?” In fact, I was at the doctor’s office about a week ago getting my checkup, because I get recent check — you know, frequent checkups. And I said, “How much longer do I have to go?” He said, “Well, if you live one day at a time, it’ll all work out.” I’ll see what I got.

“There’s a lot to do in Hell.”

KING: Billy Graham, on this program recently, said if he died right then and there, he would be very happy. He knew what would be ahead. It would be paradise. He’s going to heaven. What do you believe?

LINKLETTER: It would depend on what’s going on. I’d like a lot of activity. Heaven sounds too placid to me. Now, there’s a lot to do in hell.

KING: Why do you want to go there?

LINKLETTER: I don’t know.

“Not Ashamed of Anything I’ve Done.”

KING: But I mean, if you died right now, he (Billy Graham) said he would be happy. Have you led a happy life?

LINKLETTER: I’ve led a happy life, yes. I’ve worked hard to be successful in happiness. I’ve, you know, been a good husband. I’ve been a hard worker. And I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done.

“Doctor, how much longer do I have?”

Art Linkletter had 97 years. You may not. The Bible says: “In His hand (the Lord’s) is the life of every living thing; and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10. Amos 4:12 says: “Prepare to meet your God.” Preparation comes beforehand – not afterwards. If you aren’t ready before you die, you’ll never be ready.

“There’s a lot to do in Hell.”

Yes there is. The Bible refers to unending weeping and wailing. Jesus told of a man who had an eternity to think about the Heaven and benefits he missed. An eternity to crave for a drop of water. An eternity to wring his hands in bitter remorse. An eternity to dwell alone in torments. That’s what there is to do in Hell.  You don’t read about friends partying in Hell. You can read the story Jesus told in Luke Chapter 16.

“Not Ashamed of Anything I’ve Done.”

Every single person on the planet has things to be ashamed of in life. Hopefully they have never been exposed publicly. That’s when ‘shame’ hits an all time high. But truthful hearts know there are things hidden in their life of which they have every reason to be ashamed – especially before God’s pure and holy eyes. Mr. Linkletter promoted admirable family values. He remained married to his wife of 75 years. He campaigned against drugs and he contributed many positive things to society. But, contributing positively to society does not prepare one for eternity.

Being a positive role model before fellow-human beings is not the litmus test for eternity. Being accepted by society does not mean one is accepted by God. Every single person has sinned – without exception. That’s what Romans 3:23 says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Before God, every single person needs to hang their head in shame because of their sin. God doesn’t simply measure us based on what we’ve ‘done’ outwardly but what we have thought about inwardly, and who we are individually as sinners.

Art Linkletter is gone. What about yourself?

Where would you prefer to be in eternity – Heaven or Hell? I suspect your answer is Heaven. And that’s exactly where God’s wants you to end up. If a person suffers eternally, God cannot be blamed. It was the person’s choice.

The Bible clearly says that God ‘desires’ every person to be saved from their sins and saved for Heaven. (1Timothy 2:4) The proof of God’s desire and love for every sinner was revealed when Jesus died on the Cross for sins He never committed. He paid sin’s horrible penalty in full. Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)  Jesus gave himself a ransom for all. (1Timothy 2:6)

Have you ever faced the shame and guilt of your sins? Have you ever repented of your sins? Have you ever turned to God? Have you ever personally received His Son, Jesus Christ, as your very own Savior? Without Christ, you will never be in Heaven or even make it part way. Christ is the only way and He is the total way. (John 14:6)

Will you receive Christ today? Why not?

(1) http://www.aging.ucla.edu/TechConf/bios/linkletter.html

(2) http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/TV/05/26/obit.art.linkletter/index.html?hpt=T2

(3) http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0508/05/lkl.01.html