The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2 (NIV)
Elvis was probably one of the most successful performers in the history of popular music. As Alanna Nash says in her book, Elvis Aaron Presley, “The flickering television images of Elvis Presley – the rough and ready Hillbilly Cat swiveling provocatively on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1950’s, the lean and leathered god of The Singer Special of the ‘60’s, and the grotesquely puffy, jump suited caricature from his last live concerts of the 70’s – are so ingrained in the American consciousness as almost to be snapshots from the family album.”
True enough. Elvis was an extraordinary phenomenon. His record sales surpass a billion copies – enough to circle the globe twice. His films are treasured collectors items that testify to his enduring popularity. His mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, is a national shrine that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. His daughter, Lisa Marie, continues to earn more than $15 million a year in royalties from his estate. Streets have been named after him, impersonators number in the hundreds, and books written about him have topped the U. S. best-seller lists.
But the story of Elvis isn’t all glamour and fame. It’s also a sad commentary about a lost soul. For it’s evident that “Mr. Wiggle & Shake,” “Sir Swivelhips,” “E.P.,” “The Blue Suede Bopper,” “Elvis the Pelvis,” “The Memphis Flash,” “The Boppin’ Hillbilly,” call him what you may, was a man torn between the worship of his fans and the worship of God.
The facts speak for themselves. Elvis, although outwardly successful, was inwardly discouraged and disillusioned. He tried everything to find happiness. He dabbled in religion, slept with countless women, popped uppers and downers, partied all night, gave lavish gifts to his friends, and tubbed out on cheeseburgers and deep-fried peanut butter sandwiches. But all to no avail. As far as we know he died without filling the void in his life.
That can happen. If you don’t find salvation in Jesus, you can end up being nothing but a “Hound Dog.” And even if you can jump the beat or get behind the beat, and Elvis would do all that naturally, if your heart’s not beating for Jesus you’re just a singer without a song. For you can have Jesus on your lips but not have Him in your heart. You can be the “King of rock-and-roll” but not know the “King of kings” Revelation 19:16. And you can croon about how “He Touched Me,” yet still be miserable and empty.
But it needn’t be that way. “It’s Now or Never.” Jesus is waiting for you to be “Known only to Him.” So “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” and “you will be saved” Romans 10:9. Do that now. For in so doing you’ll find true joy and contentment.