Friday, June 26, 2009

Lessons From the Life and Death of Michael Jackson

The entire world is talking about Michael Jackson’s life and death. Wow. Amazing that one person can get the attention of the entire world through his life and death. I actually know another Person that has done that in an even more profound way!

As I reflect on the life and death of Michael Jackson, here is what comes to my mind and heart:

Incredible Talent – This man had incredible talent from the earliest of age. He was a phenomenal artist. All good gifts come from Above, so this talent was God-given; however, did he use this talent to glorify the One who gave it to him?

Worldly Success without True Fulfillment – Michael Jackson was undoubtedly successful in the eyes of the world. He sold more than 61 million albums in the U.S. alone; his 1982 hit “Thriller” is still the second best-selling U.S. album of all time; and he won 14 Grammys. However, it is obvious he did not have inner fulfillment and true happiness. He seemed to be constantly on the search for something that would give this to him, but like a dog chasing his tail, it doesn’t seem he ever found it. Perhaps this was due largely to his deep insecurity.

Deep Insecurity – Michael never seemed to advance beyond the childhood stage of development. His popularity came at such a young age that he was never able to have a proper childhood … and also move beyond childhood to adulthood. He was a boy in a man’s body. His insecurity manifested in obvious ways such as his many plastic surgeries. But probing beneath the skin reveals his uncertain relations with children. None of us will ever know the deep pain that he probably had in his spiritual, mental, and emotional life.

Financial Mess – Like so many who are successful in the world’s eyes, in reality Michael was up to his nose in debt. It is reported that he had over $400 million in debt. His upcoming tour was to help alleviate this problem. He spent $20 million to $30 million more per year than he earned. In March of last year, the singer faced foreclosure on Neverland. He also repeatedly failed to make mortgage payments on a house in Los Angeles that had been used for years by his family. In addition, Jackson was forced to defend himself against a slew of lawsuits. I am amazed at how often I learn that someone who lives in a big house and drives nice cars is actually in huge debt. This debt had to add enormous stress to Michael Jackson’s life.

Eternal Life or Death? I have shared many tragic aspects of Michael Jackson’s life. But the greatest and most long-lasting tragedy in Michael Jackson’s life and death is his unknown eternal fate. It doesn’t appear that he knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Perhaps he did. Only the Lord knows for sure. Jesus said it best: “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul” (Mt. 16:26).

May God use the life and death of Michael Jackson to cause each of us to do some serious self-examination and repentance of that which does not please God. Finally, let us be careful to avoid any inappropriate joking about Michael Jackson. Instead, let us faithfully pray for his children and entire family – that God may use this to draw them into the arms of the Perfect Father God!