Friday, June 26, 2009

The Real Measure of a Life

The entertainment industry recently has lost luminaries of varying intensity – Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

McMahon was best known as Johnny Carson’s late-night sidekick and the pitchman for Publisher’s Clearinghouse. Farrah was adored as one of Charlie’s Angels, but guys of my generation will remember her most for her little red, one-piece swimsuit poster. She set many young men’s hearts aflutter. And of course, Michael was the grandest icon of all, already being ranked with Elvis, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra in terms of his musical magnitude and impact on pop culture.

Over the next days and weeks, we will continue to hear reports and commentaries on them all, particularly the enigmatic Michael. An unquestionably talented and charismatic individual, his latter years unfortunately were shrouded by his eccentricities and controversy.

All three were larger than life in their own way, and their departures leave a void. But as discussions of their legacies advance, the most fitting question might be, “What difference did they really make?”

For Michael, it was music and mystery. For Farrah, it was glamour and sexuality. For Ed, he just seemed like a fun kind of guy. They entertained us and offered an escape from reality, but in terms of long-term impact, was there more to them than that?

It may be, in the context of eternity, that the elderly shut-in who faithfully prays for others, the anonymous philanthropist who gives to help others in need, and those who invest time to encourage and counsel others may have as much – or more – enduring influence, despite their obscurity.

In Isaiah 43:4 God says, “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, people in exchange for your life.” That sounds like a life well invested

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