I am posting this blog message two days after the shocking death of musical sensation Michael Jackson. When I was a teenager, I loved the Jackson Five, especially Michael. How I remember when I first saw the group perform live. Even though I was there in the auditorium and the first group was already performing, I still had doubts that the Jackson Five would show up on stage. To me, they were bigger than life. I had read and heard about the sellout concerts around the country, and now they were in my hometown.
When they came on the stage, the entire place was electrified. With those precision moves and the awesome voice and passion of little Michael, you couldn’t help but feel the music. Michael’s many girlfriends in the audience whom he would never meet were spellbound.
Now fast forward to the past several years. We saw another Michael. Right before our very eyes, his together life was coming apart. There were allegations of child molestation and all of the humiliation and legal battles that go with that. He was in serious debt—reportedly hundreds of millions of dollars! And perhaps more bothersome to him than anything else, the magic to his music was gone.
I watched a number of the video clips that various news programs aired of Michael hours after his death. Two things he said about himself that spoke volumes. On one occasion, he told of how he used to watch little children his age playing outside, and he so badly wanted to do the same, but everyday he had to go to the studio to practice. This was the price he would pay to become a superstar and a legend. Secondly, Michael said concerning himself, he was a lonely person.
To me, it was clear that Michael fed off the energy of his audience. Music was his life. Few in the history of humanity have come close to his accomplishments in record sales. Yet he was a lonely man, deprived of a childhood that he appeared to try to get in his adulthood. So what can we learn from his life? Mind you that I am a preacher of the gospel and not a journalist. So here goes:
“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,” the Bible says (Luke 12:15, NIV ). In my opinion, Michael Jackson’s life epitomizes this truth. There are perhaps scores of singers and entertainers who wish they were the musical genius Michael was, but I believe we would be hard pressed to find one who would want his life. The Lord gives us a childhood to enjoy as a child, and He gives us friends, families, and someone special that we not be lonely. He sent His Son that we might have true life, and that in abundance. All the things in the world and all of its fame cannot substitute for these. This we should learn from the life of Michael.
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