Three in One
No ... I'm not talking about the Trinity in this one as you might think from the title. Instead I'm thinking back over the events of the last few days. People are grieving the passing of three of society's 'icons' over the course of this last week: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.
All three were well known names during my growing up years. Ed McMahon, of course, was Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show. I never was a huge fan of the show but I recall my friends talking about it frequently. Posters of Farrah Fawcett adorned the walls of friend's bedrooms through the 70's and into the early 80's. And Michael Jackson, well, he made kind of a splash on the music scene as I recall!
To some extent these three lived out the dreams of many - fame - fortune - success - in their chosen endeavors. To some they were 'larger than life' - and their beauty (alright - Fawcett's beauty!) - their material wealth - the life they had the freedom to live - were to be envied. But the events of the last week remind us of what we know to be true - they were just people - people, in all the ways that matter, that were just like you and me.
And that brings to mind another thought. Because they were just like you and me - created by the hand of God - they have souls that live on past the dying of their bodies. It means too that they now stand in a place of giving account to a Holy God for the lives they have lived. Now, I make no judgment on their standing with God. I don't tend to follow celebrity news and have no interest into peering into someone else's life. Therefore I have no real idea of where they were at spiritually and what they did with the Good News of Jesus Christ. But the news of their deaths has made me think of the parable Jesus tells in Luke 12:13-21. I would encourage you to read this passage yourself but just in case you don't, the short form of the story is this: A man was blessed with great wealth. He spent his life focusing on it, and the enjoyment of it, but gave no thought to God. Just when he thought he had it all, God spoke to him and said, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" What a challenging thought!
I'm also reminded of Matthew 16:26 ... "What good will it be for a man (or a woman), if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Kind of puts things in perspective for us, doesn't it? One day we too will stand before a Holy God. Our bodies will have withered and died ... but our souls will live on. And the testimony of God's Word (the Bible) is that the soul lives on in one of two places - either in Heaven or in Hell. If one is a real place then certainly the other is real as well. Jesus spoke of them both as being real. I'm willing to take Him at His word. In that moment of time, when we stand before the Lord, I can only imagine that everything we have done and built up with our lives will pale in comparison to what we have done with Jesus. That should inspire us to live our lives here on earth with a greater view of eternity, with a better perspective on the things that are really worth our time and efforts and resources.
That's not an easy task. Our lives are filled with a lot of 'distractions.' But it's well worth our while to put in the effort. Perhaps a good place to start is in prayer - to start each day by praying that we would see the world around us as God sees it, that we would see others, and ourselves, through the eyes of God. To pray in such a way would surely transform our lives and our hearts, our desires and our dreams. What do you think?