The King of Cool

The late American movie star Steve McQueen was known as The King of Cool. As one of the Hollywood Greats he starred in popular films like ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘Bullitt’ and ‘The Great Escape’. He was born on 24th March 1930 in Beech Grove, Indiana and died in Mexico on 7th November 1980 aged just 50 years old.

McQueen lived quite an eventful life. His father was a wandering stunt pilot who left his family when Steve was very young. His mother was an alcoholic runaway.

He joined the US Marines when he was 17 and took up acting at the age of 26. During his life McQueen was married three times, was quite a heavy drinker, smoker and for a period, battled drug addiction.

Steve McQueen was also an avid motorcycle and race car enthusiast and in the late 1970s learned to fly planes. The pilot who taught him was a man in his early sixties called Sammy Mason. Sammy was a born again Christian.

Steve McQueen respected Sammy so much that he started to attend church with him. After several months of regular attendance, Steve McQueen requested a meeting with the church Pastor Leonard DeWitt.

During the course of the conversation the Hollywood icon confessed, “When you invited people to pray with you to receive Christ, I prayed! So yes, I’m a born again Christian!”

Not long after shooting his last film ‘The Hunter’, Steve McQueen was diagnosed with a fast spreading and incurable form of cancer. One of the last people he spoke with was American evangelist Billy Graham, where he confessed “How God made him a new man.”

Four days after meeting Graham, Steve McQueen died of a heart attack with the evangelist’s Bible, resting on his chest. It was opened at McQueen’s favourite bible verse – John Ch 3 v 16 where it says these words –

john-316_rel-35This verse could be described as the Gospel in a nutshell.  I wonder how many folks learned this verse in Sunday School and how many lives have been challenged and changed through its words?

It tells us more about God and his plan for this world than any other verse in the Bible. God gave the most extravagant thing he could do to demonstrate his love for lost human kind, summoning and sending his only begotten son to pay the debt of sin. Have we grasped the truth of it?

For Steve McQueen, he may have had a difficult start to life and died of cancer as a relatively young man, but the end of the King of Cool’s life turned out to be the best part. As it was at that stage he found the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and embraced the words of John Ch 3 v 16 – the Gospel in a nutshell.

May we all embrace this free gift, one that was paid with such a costly price.

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