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The Passing

By Gene Markland
CBN Staff Writer -- Have you ever seen times like this, when day after day we learn of the passing of yet another celebrity? A TV host and an actress, both succumb to long illnesses. A music giant dies suddenly and unexpectedly in the prime of his life, and a football star is murdered. They all pass into eternity within days of each other. Like ordinary people, the stars do fall, yet somehow it seems more shocking and unbelievable when celebrities die. 

Maybe it’s because we all know them and share in their fame. We’re connected as a family of fans to these icons of immortality. We share in the shock upon realizing that they are not immortal, and find ourselves reflecting on the fact that neither are we. 

When we experience the passing of a loved one, there is shock and disbelief, grief and sorrow.  Yet through it all, we tend to remember the good in those we lose. Past faults and failures are all but forgotten and rarely mentioned. When we celebrate their passing, we celebrate the good and decent qualities that we loved about them. 

It’s the same with celebrities. We forget the failures, faults and foilables of our media stars. We love them for the enjoyment that they gave us. Though we really don’t know them personally, we know them through their portrayals, their craft. When a celebrity passes, the fantasy ends and reality sets in. Hearing reports of their shortcomings, we suspend belief and judgment pertaining to their personal life and wish, hope and pray that they knew Christ and made it into heaven. 

God’s word tells us, “each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment”  (Hebrews 9:27 NLT). This includes ordinary people and celebrities alike. Only God can judge them, for only He knows the true condition of their heart at their passing. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, we share in the dread and sadness of the passing of a life not lived for Christ. 

Jesus said,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38 NLT).

I’m reminded of a plaque that once sat on my wife’s piano. It read, “Just one life, will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Let us remind ourselves that we are all passing, and sooner or later that final passing will be ours as well. We should redouble our efforts to leave no doubt to our loved ones and friends that our passing will be a glorious moment of entering into our rest in the presence of God. 

Live a life that leaves no doubt. “The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die” (Psalms 116:15 NLT). When life on earth is done, at the setting of our sun, there’s joy in knowing Christ…in the passing.

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More Devotions on Spiritual Life

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Other Devotions by Gene Markland

Gene is a Coach in The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center.  He resides in Virginia Beach with his wife Martha and daughter Laura.

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