Hugh Hefner is dead. Founder of Playboy magazine and media mogul of a multi-million dollar industry fueled by the sexual revolution “passed away…from natural causes” surrounded by loved ones.
Like most people I did not know Hugh Hefner apart from his public persona. He lived a lavish lifestyle and did not deny himself of anything money could buy. He lived in a mansion with a bevy of beautiful women waiting on him hand and foot. He will be missed by his friends and family and be envied by many more.
While alive he made no secret of his hedonistic philosophy and said he did not fear death because he did not believe in the afterlife.
I was reminded of a story Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus in chapter sixteen of Luke’s Gospel. The rich man spent his days “joyously living in splendor every day,” Lazarus was a sickly beggar living with constant hunger. Both of them died, Lazarus was carried “away by the angels” and the rich man was buried.
Jesus tells us the rich man “in Hades lifted up his eyes in torment” and cried out to Abraham, who he could see at a distance, and begged him, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.”
But Abraham responded, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and none may cross over from there to us.”
The rich man asked, “Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment.”
Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets: let them hear them.”
The rich man implored yet again, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”
Abraham said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”
This story makes two points worth thinking about. First, riches will not buy one’s way into heaven; a ransom the rich man would have paid if he were able. Second, the one who begged in this life was not the one begging in the next.
None of us will get out of this life alive. Hugh Hefner is dead. Where he may be is not my call. But I would remind everyone what the Scriptures declare, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.