A few days ago, one of the most iconic sports figures the world has ever known, Kobe Bryant, died tragically in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna, 6 beautiful and talented friends and their pilot. It is a tragedy the world has been mourning ever since. My husband is a part of #LakerNation. He has been a fan since childhood. It hit him hard. People are saying that Kobe was like a superhero. His off the court persona was as awe-inspiring and intriguing as his Hall of Fame-worthy basketball career. Kobe never went to college but was a very learned man. He spoke several languages, had won an Oscar and an Emmy, and had seemingly shepherded and advised every notable male and female basketball figure, significant athlete, or well known…anyone. Stars have shared how he reached out to help them at significant times in their lives. He was not without flaw or fault, nor did he claim to be. After his significant fall, it seems he did the hard work of redemption with his wife and family, for whom we all are praying.
IMMORTALITY is the ability to live forever; never dying or decaying; or deserving to be remembered forever. A mere mortal is a human being that is subject to death and not Divine. We now know despite his iconic status in society, Kobe Bryant was a vulnerable member of the human race. This tragedy has given us all a greater awareness of the fragile nature of life here on earth, and of our own mortality. If someone as brilliant, young, dashing, gifted, handsome, wealthy and accomplished as Kobe Bryant succumbed to a death that was beyond his control; we must all consider how we’re living our lives. David said, “Teach us to number our days…or Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.“ (Psalm 90:12) Admonitions to let go of grudges and tell our friends and family how much we love them abound. We will all die someday.
But what if we did live forever? What if we could choose where we’ll spend eternity? What if our bodies are just a shell of our real essence? Paul wrote, “God will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (Rom2:6-8)
Many Christians breathed a sigh of relief to find out that Kobe and Gianna had been to church right before the crash and that they attended church as much as a celebrity can. One article said he would sit in the back, so as not to take the spotlight off of Christ, the one they’d come to worship
. An interview with sports commentator Stephen A. Smith had Kobe emphatically stating many times, “God is great!”
As we contemplate his level of influence, some pastors may wonder about his faith. What would happen if more superstars like him would be converted and share about eternal life and the immortality and heavenly home that awaits those who trust in Jesus for salvation? What if we preached the Gospel more? Christ-followers…consider how we can share not only the importance of legacy and destiny but of eternity and immortality.