I just caught a brief glimpse of the message that came across my iPhone yesterday afternoon and thought I’d misread it: “Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash.”
Soon I realized it was true. The 41-year-old retired N.B.A. superstar of the Los Angels Lakers had died in a tragic accident. Compounding the tragedy, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with 7 other people also perished in the crash.
Soon expressions of sympathy, sorrow and shock began pouring in from around the sports world, as well as from fans, friends, and neighbors for 18 time All-Star who won 5 N.B.A. Championships.
Among the many stories already surfacing, the LA Times reported that a Newport Beach resident, Josh Leith, after hearing the news, walked over to a poster hanging in the house and stood in silent reflection. It was a poster of Bryant emblazoned with the word “Invincible.” While Kobe seemed like an invincible force on the basketball court during his 20-year career with the Lakers, his life, like all of ours, was not invincible.
It’s somewhat ironic that it takes the tragic death of a celebrity to remind us that life is fragile. Relatively brief. And vulnerable. We’re slapped in the face with the stark reality of our own mortality.
King David expressed it in these simple words: “There is a step between me and death’ (1 Sam. 20:3). And we never know how close that step actually is.
Metaphorically the Bible describes our earth life as a vanishing vapor. A fleeting shadow. A fading flower.
It is also good to be reminded that, according to the United Nations statistics “approximately 7,452 people die every day in the United States. In other words, a person dies in the US approximately every 12 seconds.”
These real-life reminders ought to jolt us into daily living a life that is purposeful, passionate, and principled.
“The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home,” once wrote Jim Rohn in a blog post. “The ultimate expression of life is living a good life.”
Too often we think of a good life in material or momentary terms. Fame, fortune, and fun sound like a good life. Yet, there is more.
Mark Twain once quipped, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
The Bible tells us why.
We understand that it all begins with God. We’re created in His image. We’re more than flesh, blood, and bones. We’ve been endowed with a spirit that will live on in eternity.
The good life is a God-life. It seeks to please Him. And bring him pleasure. In turn, it provides for us peace and purpose. It is a life that is founded in faith, driven by hope, and expressed in love for God and our fellow-man.
Life’s prosperity and pleasure can be enjoyed in the proper perspective. The blessings from God allow us, not to idolize them, but to use them as a means to a greater goal.
“Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment,” observed Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life. Indeed, the Bible teaches that we will be tested by life’s trials and temptations. And we’re entrusted by God as stewards of all that we’ve been given while we’re here.
Life here, we’re forewarned when we come face to face with death, is temporary and transitory. In the final years of her life, after she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma my Mom often reminded us, “We’re not put on this earth to live forever.” Life’s destiny is to die. Sooner or later.
The Good News is because of Jesus’ life and death on the cross, we can live an abundant life now, regardless of its length, and live with the confidence of the life that is to come (Jn 10:10; I Tim. 4:8).
Let us, therefore live each day responsibly, following the righteousness of God, with a recognition of our fleshly mortality and in hope of eternal immortality.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
3 responses to “Word of the Week: Life”
Regardless of the length of a person’s life in this body, Jesus’ resurrection and the testimony of Peter, John, Paul and their close friends and relatives, Christians can live confidently trusting in the promise of Eternal Life. As Paul wrote to the the church in Thessalonica, “Brothers [and sisters], we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
Paul is informing the churches in writing about the promise of Eternal Life. Eternal Life is not to be lived out sleeping in heaven.
Eternal LIfe is God’s plan. Christians are to wake up and live over and over again here on earth as they do in heaven.
If the dead do not rise, wake up, how can Jesus return and Christ rise? (1 Corinthians 15:16) For as the Psalmist sings…for in the eyesight of God… thousand years is but  days. ” a thousand years is but a day or a watch of the night.You whisk them away in their sleep; they are like the new grass of the morning…”(Psalm 90:4-5)
People like the grass wake up in the morning and feel the dew and the sun.
Thankfully, faithful pastoral people down through the centuries have realized how much Jesus’ sheep need to see and feel the grass under their feet and they have devoted their lives to finding and sustaining green pastures for their flocks.
Now is the time for shepherds who have fallen asleep in Jesus to wake up and live and preach confidently in this age of uncertainty. Humanity is created in the image and “eternal” likeness of God and has only one life and it is ETERNAL. If this were not so…Christ would not have risen. We can choose to believe this and live confidently or we can choose to deny this and live in fear and doubt, dependant, clinging to the here and now and grieving the loss of loved ones like people with no confidence.
Thank you Ken for posting these blog sermons and recapping them at the end of the week for people who may have missed them. I appreciate waking up each day and reading them. They are rich in faith and full of keen insight and lived experience.
We don’t have to be sick enough to die, or old enough to die; we just have to be READY to die
Pingback: Weekly Recap: 1-26/1-31 | ThePreachersWord