I just read an article in the newspaper about the many famous people who have died in the last 12 months. It caused me to do some reflecting. One of the thoughts that came out of that reflection was how helpless we all are before death. The people I just mentioned who have died were all famous, wealthy and powerful. They had pretty much all that life has to offer and they had the resources to do all that is possible to sustain their lives. Now all of them are gone. There was nothing they could do to keep death from claiming its victory over them. Furthermore, now that they are gone their names will likely soon fade into anonymity. My children were probably vaguely aware of some of those people. They didn’t know much about James Garner, Lauren Bacall and Mickey Rooney, if anything at all. But for certain their future children will know nothing of those previously famous people. The former celebrities are now gone and will soon be forgotten. It won’t be long before it will essentially be as though they never existed.
I’m saddened to see the passing of some of these people. There is something very melancholy about it. Perhaps that’s because it reminds us that change and finally death are inevitable for all of us. But that very reality makes it all the more important that we have some answer for the transitory nature of life. That is why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is priceless. In the Gospel of grace we have hope that goes beyond the grave that awaits us all. Psalm 90:10 says, “The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for the quickly pass, and we fly away.” What a tragic summation if that is all we have. But in Christ it is not. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Therefore, “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54). I am not famous, but as it turns out fame is very short lived and means essentially nothing in the face of death. What I have in Christ is far more valuable, for in him I shall live eternally.