Two men died this week. Well, actually, more than two died, but I’m thinking of two in particular. Both had huge impact in vastly different ways.
Dick Clark aspired to greatness in the entertainment industry. He is being remembered as a man who shaped the way TV looks and feels; who “legitimized” rock n roll through the new medium of TV; who brought Chubby Checker, Kiss, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, James Brown, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Madonna, and many more to the world stage. His work made him wealthy, powerful and present in American entertainment for half a century.
Chuck Colson aspired to greatness in American politics. He is remembered as a man who had the ear of THE president and an office next to him in the White House. He was described as "Richard Nixon's hard man, the 'evil genius' of an evil administration." His ambition led him to great heights. His desperate desire to stay there led to committing crimes in the blemish known as Watergate and to prison for seven months. He was disbarred, despised and disgraced, ending his career in law and politics.
Of those two men, it appears that Dick Clark was the one to be admired and emulated. “That is success, my child. Try to be like him,” many a parent could say and point to Dick Clark. “That is failure, my child. Avoid at all costs being like him,” the same parent could say and point to Chuck Colson.
But that depends on how “success” is defined.
As far as I can tell, Dick Clark was a nice guy. Outwardly he had it all and people seemed to love him. But is that TRUE success?
Chuck Colson was pursued and arrested by God during the Watergate scandal. Having all outward success yanked from his tightly clenched fists, he looked up to his Pursuer and surrendered to Christ. Colson thought prison was the end yet it turned out to be the beginning. In prison Colson’s heart was also arrested by the injustices done to prisoners and the lack of true rehabilitation. After his release, he founded Prison Fellowship, a ministry to prisoners and their families as well as a voice for prison reform. In addition, for over three decades he became one of the key Christian voices speaking for Christ into a secularized culture.
Dick Clark gave us music and entertainers to make us happy. Chuck Colson brought hope to the hopeless.
Dick Clark left a plethora of songs to please our ears. Chuck Colson left actions and words that challenge our souls to look to the only One Who can give us true pleasure.
Dick Clark got us to dance. Chuck Colson challenged us to feed the hungry, visit the prisoners, bring justice to the oppressed, clothe the naked and live boldly for the Savior.
Dick Clark died wealthy and powerful. Chuck Colson died humbly and away from the places of power, having chosen a humble path.
Both found out what TRUE success is this week when they DIED when they faced Jesus. Who do you think is “successful” now? What do you suppose matters now? Which man do you think was surprised and wishes he could go back and do a lot of things differently?
We ALL DIE. We ALL face Jesus. We ALL will be evaluated by what God values and rewarded accordingly. Dick and Chuck were fortunate to live past 80. No matter the length of life it is a miniscule dot on the line of eternity. What matters? What we do during that dot. It determines what we experience forever.
Which all begs some most important questions: Have you been arrested by Jesus? (Not praying a magic prayer but having your life turned right side up). What will you do with the amount of dot you have left? What impact will you leave behind? What will you do that will go into your eternity with you?
I’m just asking…
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6b (NIV)
15He (Jesus) said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:15 (NIV)
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