When the news broke of NBA legend Kobe Bryant's death I was shocked. I struggled to sleep the first night following his death. Kobe is second on my list of favorite athletes of all time. His work ethic was second to none. His passion for being the best was noticeable to everyone who watched him play. I loved to watch him play. KOBE! for 3! was all you heard from the tv. He loved basketball and he loved the Lakers.
I recall watching an interview after he stepped away from the NBA. He indicated that he had given his best to the game, and he was going to give the rest of him to his family. In his retirement, we see that! from our vantage point, he was an outstanding dad. He loved his girls. In the accident that took his life, he was headed to watch/ coach his daughter.
His death shook me because it was Kobe. A larger than life figure that was doing things right. His death was not due to self-inflicted issues, but a tragic accident. His fame, his 600 million net worth, his A+ status, nor his will power could keep him or his daughter from death. If Kobe could die at a young age, so can I.
We do not like to sit and ponder our death, but it is a reality that we must face. Our days are numbered, and there are no contract negotiations with God on our days. Job 14:5 - "A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set." I have preached many, many funerals in 14 years of ministry. The age range of funerals that I have done is 2yrs- 98yrs. Death is not a respecter of age.
So how do we use Kobe's tragic death to grow?
1. We must realize our greatest treasure as a man is our family. I have yet to meet a man that on his death bed, he wished he could work another day. Instead, I am often confronted with the sobering story of a man that let someone else impact his family while he was chasing the dream.
2. We must realize our greatest gift is salvation. The moment that I pass from this world, it will not matter how much money I have obtained, it will not matter how large my home was, nor how popular I was among people. What will matter is my relationship status with Jesus. Jesus teaches us that He is the Way, Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. We must make sure that our life is in Christ!
3. We must realize that one day will be our last. Had Kobe known Sunday had to be his last day on Earth, he would have held his wife a little tighter and hugged his family a little closer. We don't know when our last "I love you" will truly be our last. Make sure those close to you know that you love and care about them. Keep the important thing the important thing.
I will remember Kobe Bryant, and I am challenged to be a better man and dad because of his life.