As we all know, two American icons passed into eternity on the last Thursday of June, 2009 – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
Farrah Fawcett was once regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women. Her hairstyle was copied by countless girls in her day, and her posters hung on many a young man’s wall. Tragically, she contracted cancer and eventually succumbed to it. Prior to her death, when she was still trying to beat it, a TV special chronicled her fight and her hope to overcome this dreaded disease.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, and Farrah Fawcett entered eternity. Her memorial service was held this week. Her boyfriend Ryan O’Neal and her family had been hoping for a miracle. In an interview he gave before her death, O’Neal said he would only talk about Farrah’s recovery, because ”the alternative is too painful to accept. It would be an awful conversation to have.”
It’s understandable, isn’t it? People don’t like to face — or even talk about — the reality of death. It frightens, even terrifies us. The New Testament speaks of those who are ”held in slavery by the fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).
But as we all know, there is no escaping it! The Bible says, ”There is a time to be born, and a time to die … .” Across our world, 3 people are dying every second …180 every minute … nearly 11,000 every hour. That means that 250,000 people enter into eternity every single day.
In addition to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, other recent notable deaths include Ed McMahon, legendary sidekick to Johnny Carson, as well as TV pitchman Billy Mays. This reminds us that death is no respector of persons. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, famous or unknown. Death knocks at every door.
King David said, ”Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5, NIV).
In days gone by, people thought about such things more than many of us do today. In his book, “Heaven,” Randy Alcorn points out that ancient merchants often wrote the words, ”Momento Mori,” or think of death, in large letters on the first page of their accounting books. Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, commissioned a servant to stand in his presence each day and say ”Philip, you will die!” In contrast, France’s Louis XIV decreed that the word ”death” not be used in his presence.
Although many knew Farrah was fighting cancer and might die soon, the death of pop superstar Michael Jackson was a shock to many. Now, as more comes out about his life, it would appear that he had been on a downward spiral for months, even years. Jackson had unprecedented success, winning 13 Grammys and selling a staggering 750 million records worldwide. He was one of the few artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. The Guinness Book of World Records declared him to be ”the most successful entertainer of all time.”
Before his death, Jackson was preparing for a series of 50 concerts that would have been held in London, England beginning July 13, 2009. But then death came, as it does to everyone. Even so, 50 years of age sounds like way too young an age to leave this life — and it’s sounding younger all the time!
I don’t know where Farrah and Michael were at in their spiritual lives. I only hope they had put their faith in Christ, and have both gone on to be with Him, the true and living King. On the same day that this news was breaking, I was called to visit a man on his deathbed. He knew he had cancer and that he only had days to live. We talked about eternity, and though he claimed to have faith, we went over God’s glorious plan of salvation and prayed as he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
I told him that I would visit him again on Saturday, but he didn’t make it. In fact, he ended up passing into eternity, into the arms of the Lord, only hours after our visit. I’m so glad I went to visit him! Thursday was an extremely busy day and I had considered waiting to go until Saturday, but felt prompted by the Lord to go that day.
This is why, as a pastor and an evangelist, I want to spend my life telling others about Jesus. Because we never know when life on this earth will end. If you know someone who is not yet a believer, go tell them today how to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the living Lord. If you yourself are not a believer, check out this link that will explain how to become one.
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock, is dead.
James Brown, the King of Soul, is dead.
Kurt Cobain, the King of Grunge, is dead.
And now Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, is dead.
But Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is alive forevermore! Let’s tell people that, so they too can live forever.
Jesus said, ”I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”