Kobe Bryant’s death is stopping many in their tracks. As an old gym rat who grew up watching Kobe play against my beloved Utah Jazz my first response like many was one of disbelief. My husband and I have watched with tears countless testimonies from many of the impact Kobe had on their life. NBA teams started games this past week by taking 24 second clock violations to honor number 24, moments of silence in so many gatherings, crowds gathered chanting Kobe outside the arena where he played for 20 years, and LAX and Madison Square Garden lit up the sky with purple and gold.
The University of Alabama has a slogan that says, “Where legends never die.” However, it struck me the title of one of the specials that aired the night of Kobe’s death titled,”The death of a legend.” You see legends do die and this past week we were all reminded of this. Kobe made an impact for the ages on the game of basketball and was just in the start it seemed of pouring into the lives of many young athletes. It hurts for many that a man so full of life is gone. In this world we walk through grief as ones we love die. We see in our grief that we long to live for eternity and to live for eternity with all those we love. In our grief you see how broken things are. We see the curse and sting of death that was promised by God in Genesis for the price of disobedience.
Kobe lived the picture of a successful life winning the hearts of so many. However, in 2000 years will it matter? In 2000 years will anyone remember? Probably not. It all seems so meaningless if we are to just live well and love well and then all die. We see Solomon write about this in Ecclesiastes. Solomon had all the worldly wealth and was so wise that kings from across the lands came to see about him. However, he writes that truly all the worldly success is all meaningless in the end! What is the point if we are all just going to die? If that’s the case alone we might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
Often we hear people say something along the lines of they are seeking to find their true selves. My answer is I hope you do, because when you really find why you exist you see it’s not about you at all. Human beings are not just some random bunch of cells that came together out of nothing. Our mind, will, and emotions prove this. We were made with purpose. Our very DNA when looked at under a microscope is in the shape of the cross pointing to the one our souls long for. We were made by the One true Living God in whom we live and move and find our being. “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-to bring unity to all things in heaven and earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1:5-10
After getting over the initial news that Kobe had died in a helicopter crash my next question was did Kobe follow Jesus? I rushed to the internet trying to find this out. Truly this is all that matters. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their souls,” Mark 8:26.
Dreams and legacies end but Christ remains. We can live to make a name for ourselves and our own kin or live to make known the name above all names, Jesus Christ whom every person in each tribe, nation and tongue will give an account and bow down too. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven give to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12