Lessons from a Legend

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”- Hebrews 11:13

This past Sunday a tragic accident occurred sending shockwaves through the southland, the sports world, and around the globe. As we were ending our church service, we learned of the helicopter crash, in our own backyard (Calabasas), which took the lives of nine precious people, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his thirteen-year old daughter Gianna. Throughout the rest of the day there was a sense of loss and sorrow, as news reports showed images from the crash site, thousands gathering at the Staples Center and other locations, endless highlight clips from Kobe’s career, and interviews from professional athletes and celebrities.

As a couple of days have passed, I have reflected on Kobe’s life, career, and Sunday’s tragic end. In that time, I feel the Lord showed me some lessons we can learn from this all-time great’s life and last Sunday’s loss:

1) Kobe demonstrated HARD WORK and a relentless pursuit of greatness. Nobody worked harder, was a fiercer competitor, or logged more gym hours than the one affectionally known as “The Black Mamba.” He wanted to be great and make every moment count. As God’s people we are called to give our all to Him. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…

2) Kobe demonstrated being FAITHFUL to Laker Nation. He spent his entire twenty-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He even has two numbers (#8 and #24) retired by the organization. Through the highs that included five championships and the lows that included missing the playoffs and suffering multiple injuries, Kobe stayed committed to the purple and gold. In his marriage, he relentlessly pursued reconciliation and restoration following his moral failure. Faithfulness is one of the primary attributes and expectations of those who call Jesus, their Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

3) Kobe embraced a NEW CHAPTER in life, with a post-basketball purpose. Following his NBA career, he didn’t take the familiar or popular route of being a basketball commentator or working for a team. Rather, he discovered a new passion that included storytelling, writing, and filmmaking. Kobe even won an Oscar in 2018 in the category Best Animated Short Film, for his creation of “Dear Basketball.” The work of the Spirit makes us NEW! We are given a new heart, a new spirit, and a new way of thinking and living. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new has come.”

4) Kobe focused on his FAMILY and the joy of being a FATHER. The popular images of his fist pumping, slam dunking, and trophy raising, was replaced with pictures of him with his wife, Vanessa, and their daughters. Each picture vividly portrayed a closeness and fulfillment in putting family first. In fact, the tragedy from last Sunday took place as Kobe was taking his daughter to her basketball game, which had become her passion like her dad’s. As a father of four myself, the pain of his other daughters no longer having their “daddy” stings most. Nothing we do compares to the responsibility and reward we have as parents. This is a time to make sure we are taking time with our families, telling them how special they are to us, and thanking God for such a beautiful gift. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring are a reward from Him.”

5) Sunday’s accident is a reminder how PRECIOUS and SHORT life is. This tragedy is a sobering reminder that this temporal world is no respecter of accomplishments, accolades, wealth, or fame. We are not invincible. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, nor can we fully guard from the troubles that this present world brings. We are called not to focus on what tomorrow brings, but what heaven holds for us! 1 Thessalonians 5:8 informs us to waking up to this reality and need, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

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Sunday: 8:00am - 12:30pm

Monday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Tuesday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Wednesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Friday: Closed

Saturday: Closed

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