On the ride home this evening, I briefly tuned into KMOJ and had an opportunity to hear what I assume was a tribute to the late Michael Jackson. As I am sure many are already aware, today marks the third anniversary of his death. Although a few years have gone by since the world lost this great cultural icon, a part of me still cannot believe that he is really gone.
I still remember where I was and what I was doing the day that the news of Michael Jackson’s death filled my facebook news feed. Even more so then, I could not come to grips with the fact that MJ had died. I had grown up listening to his music, watching his videos. I remember when the video Black or White first came out featuring Macaulay Culkin. The song and video, Remember the Time, also comes to mind – hands down this has to be my absolute favorite. To me, MJ was more than an artist, he was almost immortal.
I felt the same way about Whitney Houston. You don’t understand how much I rocked out to her music on my walkman on a regular basis. (Sidenote: A walkman is a pocket-sized stereo/ radio system with light weight earphones). Her voice and her talent was absolutely incomparable to anyone else that I have ever come across. Yet like Michael, she too is gone.
Both artists were skilled at building a cultural empire, a kingdom of fame and fortune that very few of us will ever get to experience. Nevertheless, no matter how much wealth they accumulated, no matter how many people all over the world knew their names, they still died. They were not immortal. This teaches or rather reaffirms two things –
1. It is appointed for humans to die once (Hebrews 9.27a). No matter what we do, or don’t do, we will die. I hate to sound so morbid, but it is true. No one, absolutely no one can cheat death no matter what you do or how you live. You may delay it momentarily, but eventually, you will face it. Which leads right into the second point…
2. After death, every person will face judgment (Hebrews 9.27b). God will judge us. In spite of the kingdoms that we build for ourselves on earth, we will submit to a kingdom, an empire that far surpasses that of our own – God’s. Mark 8.36 asks this question – for what does it profit a man or woman to gain the whole world and lose their soul? What is the point of building our own kingdom, chasing our own dream, amassing vast amounts wealth and prestige, if these things cannot guarantee us an eternity with God?
Based on these few thoughts, where do you stand? If you were to die today, would you be ready to stand before God or are you too busy building your own kingdom?