False Obituary Became a Conversion Point for This Famous Man


When a morning newspaper 130 years ago published a wrong obituary about this famous man it became a life-changing moment for him. He did not want to be remembered the way newspaper had portrayed him. He took the challenge as an opportunity to envision a different future for himself and we know him today for a different contribution to humanity.

About 130 years ago a man picked up the morning paper and, to his horror, read his own obituary.

The newspaper had reported the death of the wrong man. like most of us, he relished the idea of finding out what people would say about him after he died. He read past the bold caption which read, "Dynamite king dies," to the text itself. He read along until he was taken aback by the description of him as a "merchant of death."

He was the inventor of dynamite and he had amassed a great fortune from the manufacture of weapons of destruction. But he was moved by this description. Did he really want to be known as a "merchant of death"?

It was at that moment that a healing power greater than the destructive force of dynamite came over him. It was his hour of conversion. From that point on, he devoted his energy and money to works of peace and human betterment.

Today, of course, he is better known as the founder of the Nobel Peace Price - Alfred Noble.

This is a powerful story I read at William Bausch's Storytelling Imagination and Faith book, which conveys a great message that "I can change." It provides a basis of hope and morality. When Jesus was speaking in parables he did want his listeners to envision a better, different future for themselves and for others. Like Alfred Nobel, we can also ask ourselves today, is there a better different future for me and do I have the will to change to reach to that future.

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