Along the way, he has written over 70 books, most of which were developed from his sermons. In his book, Living on the Ragged Edge: Finding Joy in a World Gone Mad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1990), he shares the story of Yussif, the Terrible Turk (pp. 127-128). This is the origin of the story I shared this past Sunday. As several people requested a copy, I am posting it here.
It might help to remember Yussif, the Terrible Turk! Yussif was the three-hundred-and-fifty-pound wrestling champion in Europe a little over two generations ago. After he won the European championship, he sailed to the United States to beat our champ, whose name was Strangles Lewis - a little guy, by comparison, who weighed just a shade over two hundred pounds.
Although he wasn’t huge, Strangler had a simple plan for defeating his opponents. It had never failed to work. He’d put that massive arm of his around the neck of his opponent. He’d pump up that bicep and cut the oxygen off, right up there near the adam’s apple. Many an opponent had passed out in the ring with Strangler Lewis.
The problem he had when it came to fighting the Turk was that the European giant didn’t have a neck! His body just went from his head to those massive shoulders. Lewis could never get the hold, so it wasn’t long before Yussif flipped Lewis down on the mat and pinned him.
After winning the championship, the Turk demanded all five thousand dollars in gold. After he wrapped the championship belt around his vast middle, he stuffed the gold into the belt and boarded the next ship back to Europe. He was now the possessor of America’s glory and gold. He had won it all... all except immortality.
He set sail on the SS Bourgogne. Halfway across the Atlantic, a storm struck and the ship began to sink. Yussif went over the side with his gold still strapped around his body. The added weight was too much for the Turk, and he sank like an iron anvil before they could get to him with the lifeboats. He was never seen again.
Oh, the power of greed! Over and over again, it has proven its power to weigh people down and drag them under! Hence the warning of Jesus in Luke 12:15: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."