I am greatly saddened by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his young daughter, but I am just as saddened and grieved by the irresponsible and nonchalant response from the world and even from the church to such misfortune. Untimely deaths of young celebrities like Kobe Bryant are supposed to cause a deep pause and sincere reflection of our sinful lifestyles and earnestly consider the eternal consequences of going off into eternity without Christ.
Instead people are talking incessantly about what a great basketball legend he was and his immortality on the court. I understand recognizing Kobe’s talent and honoring what he contributed to the game of basketball, but it’s extremely callous not to consider our lives in the light of eternity and speak of that, too.
One tweet said this: “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever. Rest in peace.”
Really? Listen, basketball is just a game. Heroes and legends and every other famous person that’s ever lived come and go. Kings and mighty rulers of the earth come and go. The rich and the poor alike come and go. Life is very brief on this planet. Let’s not forget that there were 7 other people that lost their lives in that helicopter crash, not just Kobe and his young daughter. He is getting all the attention and honor because of his celebrity status, but in eternity there is no such regard for greatness in this life as men count greatness.
What do earthly honors matter in the end? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Yes, I know Kobe’s influence stretched far beyond sports, touching art, culture, business, and his family. But what does that all matter in the end if he knew not Christ?
In light of Kobe Bryant’s untimely death and all those who went down with him, it’s time to consider again the brevity of this earthly life and the eternal consequences of living a life without Christ.
“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
C.T. Studd said it this way:
“Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Leonard Ravenhill also had the right perspective:
“Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”
NO EARTHLY DISTINCTIONS IN THE ETERNAL REALM
God and Satan are not partial to anyone. There are no distinctions in the eternal realm. Kobe is not a superstar in eternity. They are not celebrating his life and greatness in the game of basketball. The only thing heaven celebrates is the life you lived for Christ. The honor you gave to Christ. The steps and pursuits you made for Christ. The people you led to Christ. Heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents.
“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
I honestly hope Kobe came to repentance before this fatal crash. I hope he was a real Christian and God found some honor in his heart for Christ; or perhaps he called on the Name of the Lord moments before that helicopter exploded in fire. If not, he is experiencing another kind of fire that is eternal where ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ (Mark 9:44).
The God of all flesh has no regard for world celebrities, famous leaders, or mighty kings on this earth. Note the word of the Lord to the king of Babylon:
“In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival. The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead stand up to see you” (Isaiah 14:9).
The surest thing in the world is not death and taxes, it’s death and eternity. Yet, we remain so unconcerned. We are not eternity conscious enough.
Not only are there no earthly distinctions made in heaven concerning our status, position, or achievements in this life, but even in the church world God makes no distinctions. There are no church or denominational distinctions in heaven. There is not one section in heaven for Presbyterian Christians, another section for Anglican Christians, and yet another for Baptist Christians. Unless a person has sincerely repented of his sins and placed his total trust in Christ for his salvation, proving it by his works, all of life was lived in vain.
JOHN WESLEY’S DREAM THAT REVOLUTIONIZED HIS LIFE
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
It’s time for America, the church world, and all the nations of the earth to fear God, so they can be spared eternal damnation and live a life worthy of the reward of Christ’s sacrifice. It’s time for all of of us to realize that there are only two distinctions in the eternal world, the saved and the damned. Those who have received the life of Christ and those who have not.
“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
I pray for all those close to Kobe, and most especially for his grieving family during this devastating time in their lives. May they find Christ and receive the hope, strength, and comfort they so desperately need.