By: Tim Sader
Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 10:2)
I spent many years binge drinking and doing whatever evil seemed fun to me for many years. It wasn’t constant and I never stopped believing in God so I thought my occasional sin was ok. God finally got my attention but hard things happened in my life while drinking heavily and instead of turning to God I turned toward alcohol thinking it would help me through my sorrows. At this time in my life I had two sets of friends none of which were bad but some of them drank and others didn’t and for the most part this kept them separated. I spent a lot of time hanging out next door and meeting all the fun friends that came down from New York. Often these friends would miss Rodríguezes so much they would move here permanently or for a while. One friend Dan Dickinson came for a visit and enjoyed it here but traveled back and forth to manage his businesses in New York. Everytime he rolled into town he’d be driving a different chromed out SUV, truck or sports car and would have enough money to make a party wherever he was at. Dan was an uncommon type of person money was nothing to him but he always had more than enough. Everything he did to make money I am unsure of but some of it was earned unlawfully. No dishonor toward him; he was doing the best he knew how and no one I know had a bigger heart for others. If friends or family were struggling to get by he would pay a bill, fix their car or put food on their table. Anytime we went out for a meal or drinks he would pay the bill without giving a second thought. Though he liked to make money it was not lord over him because he was willing to give it all away. After moving down south he met a great girl who had a son and together they had a daughter so he was starting to settle down. The illegal activities were becoming less and less; he found ways to use his money to invest in businesses he believed in. It seemed like his life was on its way up but he took a trip to New York to pick up a truck to repay a debt owed to him. On this trip something happened and he never returned to his fiancé and baby girl.
For me there were many uncertainties surrounding his death. The friends with him didn’t know the people delivering the truck, they did some partying and I remember something about an empty bottle of pills. After some investigation they say nothing criminal happened to him; it was just an asthma attack from the two different climates. Only God knows if something else went down that night. The reason for his death really doesn’t matter it was a tragedy to this group of friends I had grown to love so much. Things never were the same in that circle after Dan’s passing, somehow he was the glue that kept us all close. I remember how many people came to his viewing; after only two years living here it was the most people I’ve ever seen show up to honor anyone. His life had more impact at twenty-three than most people make after living eighty years. Dan was a good guy enticed by others or the draw of living a gangster lifestyle to make some bad choices. Seeing the money to be made this way would make anyone consider changing their chosen profession. People get swallowed in it as they fill their homes with all the best things that money can buy. All this stuff leads them into a trap that they set for themselves. Eventually ill-gotten gain consumes the life of whoever gets it (Proverbs 1:10-19). Despite having all these things from his lifestyle I think money lost its value to Dan that is why he willingly gave it all away. Dan was a victim of the lifestyle he was tring to get away from. This one last debt he collected cost him his life. Being righteous delivers from death because doing what is right keeps us from the results of chasing what has no value. In the end I understand Dan was setting wrong things right and working on a new relationship with God.
Many of us have lost friends or loved ones unexpectedly often what seems to be far too soon. They may no longer be with us physically but they can live on through us when we remember things they taught us or learn something from their lives. True knowledge is infinite as long as it is known their legacy can live through us in the here and now. The Lord would not want us to miss any good we can gain from another human life even if what we learn is something not to do.
Lord when we tragically lose loved ones help us not to focus so much on what went wrong as we do on learning from them so their memory is not wasted. Righteousness and wickedness we choose to do each day and any of us can pick to do either in every situation we face. Lord help us to lean on grace and let you lead us into doing what’s right so we will not led astray. Please forgive us and protect from the wrong we’ve done so that at the end of our lives people will mostly learn about you in us. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16