A death is always a tragedy. According to many sources approximately 150,000 people die every day, most of them unknown outside of a small circle of family and friends. Whether it’s a well-known person or an unknown person, their death is always to be lamented. God created us to live, not to die. Death is the most unnatural event in life.
The death this week of Whitney Houston is tragic on so many levels – she was still young; a beautiful voice was silenced; she left a family behind; according to some reports she died of a mixture of drugs and alcohol. But the tragedy that was Whitney Houston goes far beyond a life cut short. The greater tragedy was the influence that she had on the lives of so many people, especially young people. What does her death say to them? What does it teach them about how to deal with life?
To many people Whitney Houston was an icon, a star, someone to be emulated. There are young girls out there who are hoping to be the next Whitney Houston, to have all that she had; the money, the fame, the roar of the crowds. They live to have her life. But they never see the downside – the loneliness, the insecurity, the fears, the demons that could only be placated by drugs and alcohol. It was a life of glamour but at the core of the glamour there was darkness.
We may never know everything that led a young star on the path of self-destruction, but we can sound a warning. The warning is that life does not consist in the abundance of the things we possess (Luke 12:15). Life is about more than fame and fortune. In the final analysis everything Whitney Houston spent her life trying to accomplish will amount to nothing. Spending your life for what this life can give you is a futile and ultimately pointless exercise (Luke 12:20). How much better to spend your life for something that is worthwhile (Luke 12:21).
It’s appropriate and instructive to read what Christ had to say about the priorities of life.
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21).
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