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Monday, 23 March 2009

On death and stardom

The media circus should soon be over. Jade Goody is dead. I had every sympathy for her, as I would have for any young woman with any terminal condition, but I know two other men who, at this moment, have been given only a short time to live, yet who are unknown to anyone outwith their own circle of family, friends, and colleagues.

There is another major difference between the late Jade, and Ronnie and Neil. To the best of my knowledge, and basing any conclusion on a combination of the reasons for Jade Goody’s “celebrity” status, and her reported lifestyle, she had never made any profession of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ – confessing her own sinful nature, and accepting the salvation that He won at Calvary, and that He offers to all. Both Ronnie and Neil, on the other hand, are believers whose hope is set firmly on that same Lord Jesus.

The story is told of the religious sceptic at the famous Speakers’ Corner (Hyde Park, London, England), who was ridiculing the very idea of the existence of the Biblical God and, hence, of the reality of either heaven or hell. He spoke from a position of some erudition, and did so with passionate conviction. However, in the crowd that had gathered around him was a flower-seller – a woman of considerable age, and of no formal education. When the sceptic stopped for breath, she called out that she had a question for him.

“And what is your question, madam?”, he responded. It was simple, and straightforward. “I, sir, am a follower of Jesus Christ. He has assured me, in His word, that there is both a heaven and a hell, and that only by placing my trust in Him, can I have assurance of spending eternity in heaven. Following Him has brought me great peace, and I have enjoyed His companionship for many years. If, when I die, I discover that I have been wrong, what have I lost? However, sir, if when you die, you discover that you are wrong, what will you say as you stand before the judgement throne of Almighty God, with no Jesus to be your Advocate?” The sceptic had no answer – because there is none that is satisfactory.

That same Jesus made it clear that each of us has a choice to make – and it has nothing to do with media exposure; financial wealth; or even living a “good” life. It has to do with following Him. A lot of what I have heard on the news programmes, yesterday and today, with regard to Jade Goody, has been sentimental nonsense. Whether we enjoy fame and fortune, or live our lives in relative obscurity, our eternal future is decided by what we have done with Jesus.

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