He Is Dead, But Is He Grateful?

By Phillip Mullins

He was an icon in American pop culture. A reminder of a decade now seen as one of the most troubled in this century. Jerry Garcia, leader of the rock band The Grateful Dead, has now exited the stage and the curtain has dropped for the last time.

The name Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead may not be recognized by all Americans, but to a generation who came of age in the 1960s they were chief symbols of the counter culture for nearly thirty years. In a way they have been the sole keepers of the flame. While so many other ’60s rebels have either burned out or died out, Garcia and his band have continued to play and party on. Their fans included anyone in their late teens and early twenties who wanted to rebel and fly freely. Their concerts, almost al-ways sell outs, were accompanied by massive drug busts in every city. “Groupies” followed them all over the country, forsaking family and jobs to live on the road and party all the time.

Garcia himself embodied the spirit of the counter culture. He had battled with substance abuse for years.

He was quoted once as saying, “If it is not fun, dont do it.”

Jerry Garcias death is just another lesson to rebels of any age of the foolishness of the “live for today only” philosophy. The revels of the 60s have all had to learn that responsibility and morality are important. Some have adjusted; others have not and paid the price. Garcia’s death teaches us that no matter how liberated a person may think he is, he will not escape death.

What is on the other side of the grave? The Bible, the only confirmed source for information about the after life, says that there is something else that is as certain as death. “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Since there is a judgment, it does matter how we live. In spite of how much freedom we enjoyed or fun we had in this life, if we step into eternity after ignoring and disobeying God it would not have been worth it. The only ones who will be grateful after death are those who would have lived in Christ and died in him.

Eternity is coming, every day counts. Are you ready?

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but in the fear of the Lord continue all day long; For surely there is a here after, and your hope will not be cut off” (Prov. 23:17-18).

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 22, p. 1
November 16, 1995