I can’t help but think that there was a missed opportunity yesterday.
Millions of people across this vast globe watched the Michael Jackson memorial service on TV and a few select people were able to be there in person. I for one did not watch, but saw and heard a number of sound bites no matter the station I was watching (even ESPN had a couple sound bites). Now…I don’t want to generalize this memorial service but I can’t help but think that it was probably no different than any other celebrity’s memorial service.
What was the missed opportunity?
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his (Jesus) blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
Imagine if that verse were read at the memorial service (or one like it). Imagine if the Gospel were preached in all it’s purity. Imagine if people across the globe got a chance to hear celebrities witness to their faith (if there is indeed faith there to be witnessed to). Like I said…I wasn’t there, didn’t watch and I don’t know the people in attendance. But the sound bites I heard never once mentioned Jesus, God, faith or anything of the sort. Missed opportunity.
With memorial services like this the tendency is to focus on the person who has died. There are stories told to highlight what a great person they were. There are facts shared that illustrate what a difference the person made in the lives of others. There are tears shed and emotions laid out for all to see. No doubt that Michael Jackson had an influence on many people, loved many people and helped many people. No doubt that he will be missed and mourned for a long time. But as with any person on this vast planet…Michael Jackson was a sinner.
Don’t get me wrong…he was no worse than anyone else, but he was a sinner. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. But despite those facts Ephesians 1:7 is true for you and me and Michael Jackson. I wish this was shared with the millions of people that were watching…and mourning. Missed opportunity.
Funerals are an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel to people that normally would not put themselves in a situation to hear the Gospel preached (i.e. they don’t come to worship unless it is Easter, Christmas or a funeral). We can’t miss these opportunities. People are searching for answers and reassurance. What a missed opportunity to share with people that because of what Jesus has done and through faith we will all be together again.
Death doesn’t have to be good bye, but rather see you later.
The memorial service yesterday was an opportunity that was missed and will never come again. Take advantage of situations in your life to preach the Gospel, share the Good News of forgiveness and proclaim the gift of life we have from God through Jesus Christ.
Let’s not miss opportunities.