Multi-billionaire Howard Hughes suffered from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and frequently became fixated on the most trivial and insignificant details like sorting peas by size. He was germ-phobic to the extreme, and given to the most bizarre episodes of self-isolation. He once spent four months watching movies in a darkened screening room, naked, and consuming only milk, chocolate bars and chicken, cutting neither his hair or nails, nor bathing. A condition called allodynia where skin contact produces great pain may in part explain this.
Other behaviour anomalies included storing urine in bottles, stacking and restacking Kleenex boxes, and running the 1968 film Ice Station Zebra on a continuous loop in his home, watching it some 150 times.
Hughes is dead now. His fortunes, institutions, and aircraft have all gone to others. Naked he came, naked he left. Seven times a billionaire at his death, Hughes could have anything he desired. But though he may have gained the whole world, in the end he lost everything, even himself.
Jesus warned, “Whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:35-36) “Above all else, guard your heart,” expounds Solomon, the wisest man of past and future, “for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:23). What is your heart’s greatest desire?
Not sure? Jesus helps us to see more clearly. He warns,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
Find the treasure; find the heart.
Howard Hughes could see, but he was blind; Bartimaeus was blind, but he could see (see Mark 10:46-52) — but more about him tomorrow.
How is your vision today? How far down the road can you see? What is your greatest desire?