Scripture and the News

Segway-ing Into Eternity

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
A British entrepreneur's death reminds us of the uncertainty of life, the transience of riches, and the urgency of preaching the Gospel.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase


A British entrepreneur's death reminds us of the uncertainty of life, the transience of riches, and the urgency of preaching the Gospel.

The policeman who patrols the neighborhood where TeachingTheWord's office is located travels on a Segway like the one pictured at right. The Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered, single-person vehicle that can reach speeds of policeman on Segway12 miles per hour and is ideally suited to rapid navigation on streets, sidewalks, and grassy terrain. Many police departments around the world have made the Segway their vehicle of choice for officers who would otherwise be on foot patrol.

Every time I see our local officer tooling around the neighborhood on this vehicle, it reminds me of the uncertainty of life, the transience of riches, and the urgency of preaching the Gospel. Why, you may ask, would that be?

On September 26, 2010 the multi-millionaire owner of the company that makes Segway motorized scooters died in a freak accident while riding one of his vehicles. Jimi Heselden grew up in Leeds, England, left school at age 15 to work in the coal mines, but later went into business for himself and amassed a fortune that made him one of the richest men in the United Kingdom. He was inspecting his West Yorkshire estate on a Sunday morning when the Segway he was riding plunged 80 feet over a cliff near his home, and into the River Wharfe below.

Heselden's entrepreneurial genius was a legend in the British business community. Although he was also a noted philanthropist, there was no indication in news reports that Heselden was a regenerated believer in Christ. According to reports, most of his philanthropy benefited civil and ecumenical causes in the Leeds area.

The Uncertainty of Life, The Transience of Riches

Such a tragic event cannot help but remind us of Scripture's warnings about the transient nature of riches, the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of accountability to God the righteous judge:

The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' (Luke 12:16-20)

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15)

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)

The Urgency of Preaching the Gospel

This also reminds us of Paul's words concerning the security of the believer, the certainty of facing God, and the urgency of preaching the Gospel, both to those outside the visible church and those within it:

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men... (2 Corinthians 5:1-11)

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

What About You?

What about you, dear reader? Do you have the confidence of faith in Christ, that to be absent from the body will mean being immediately present with the Lord? Or, do you face the real possibility of eternal separation from God in Hell? If you do not have confidence of eternal life, please contact us. It would be our privilege to explain to you, from the Word of God, His provision for the salvation of sinners through faith in Christ.

If you are a believer, do you walk in this world bearing witness to the Savior? Are you ready to speak a word for Christ, "in season and out of season"? Some will say, "Oh, but Paul wrote this to Timothy, a preacher. That's the preacher's job." Yes, that is primarily true. But these words also define God's will for the church, and thus for all believers. "Preach the Word!'" - proclaim it openly! "Be ready in season and out of season." This means, quite literally, "Openly proclaim the Word when it is welcome in the ears of your hearers, and also when it is not - but always, proclaim the Word!"

And what is that Word? Paul tells is in Romans that it is "the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10). Those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Jehovah God, and believe that He has been raised from the dead for their justification - these are the men and women and boys and girls who are saved.

Jesus gave these last words not only to His apostles, but to all those who followed Him after His resurrection: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It may be God's plan to use your witness as the Spirit's means of saving one of those who are nearest to eternity without Christ.


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