I have read that stars die. And that the bigger the star, the quicker it dies, and vice versa. The smaller the star, the longer it lives.
It is comforting in the Spirit to hear that stars die. The only way we can achieve heavenly glory is to die. When we talk of God’s Kingdom, the foremost realization we should have is that it is a spiritual Kingdom, not a material or physical one. That is why many of the true spiritual heroes that we shall find in heaven when we get there will be men and women who were unknown in this world. They were dead to this world, and therefore unsung by it. They were men and women who did things before God, and not before men; who served God in, as the Apostle Peter says,
“the hidden man of the heart” (1 Pet. 3:4).
One of the greatest Books that I have ever held in my hands is the Swahili Bible (1952 Union Version). This particular Bible was translated from the King James Version of the Bible, and it is an incredible translation. There are a number of other adjectives that I would use to describe this Bible: amazing, spectacular, brilliant, magnificent, outstanding. In my assessment, it is one of the truly great literary works alive and deserving of all acclaim.
But there is another remarkable thing about this Bible. In its preface, the translators refer to themselves simply as “We, the translators”. That is all that is written about them: “We, the translators”. There is no mention of their names, nor of anything else about them. If I ever wanted to know who they were, I wouldn’t know where to begin searching.
I have often wondered about these translators. Who were these Swahili men (and women, probably) who were so educated in those early days that they could translate the Bible to such a degree? Colonialism had not even ended; where did they get such an exceptional education? And the truly great question: how did they arrive at the decision to not identify themselves? These two questions bothered me for a very long time.
But, one day, the light broke through. I finally realized that those two questions can be answered very easily when you realize that God was working in and with these men. I realized that, where God is involved, man steps aside. He is not visible because he has died to his natural state.
In that singular Book these people have done a far greater work in the Spirit wherever the Swahili language is spoken than all other works past, present and future combined. For that reason, these men ought to be the stars of our generation. But these men, who handled God’s holy Word firsthand, received from God the greatest gift of all: the wisdom to not leave a record of themselves.
God does not want us to be stars in the worldly sense. He detests the glory of this world which is of the flesh. The only goal acceptable to God in any and everything we do is to bring glory to Him alone, for He alone is worthy. Hallelujah!
Unfortunately, since we are prisoners of the flesh, we find ourselves sorely tempted to flaunt our own glory rather than God’s. In so many ways, we stand accused in this regard. But, interestingly, we are not done yet. That is still not enough for us. We have chosen to take things to another level, so to speak. It is normal nowadays to have superstar preachers, superstar gospel singers, New York bestsellers and all kinds of other superstars within the church. People are even using God’s ministries – the apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist and teacher – to seek for stardom.
So many believers are getting lost in worldly glory. In my country, I have even heard someone tell of how, once they realized they could sing really well, they pulled out of their church choir and started a solo gospel singing career.
Sometimes God’s love for His children leads Him to do things that we think are cruel. But, in actual fact, it is God’s love in action. When gospel stars die young, people are full of grief, not realizing that, in most of these cases, God is saving that person from a dangerous situation. He is saving them from a perilous road they were hurtling down unaware of the consequences to their souls – the road of fame and stardom; the road of certain spiritual ruin and destruction. God decided, “Oh, no, I love this person too much, I am not going to allow them to go down that road” – and He took them home.
In most cases, gospel stars begin their ministry with a lot of humility and with the fear of God attending their souls. Unfortunately, that is the last time God will hear from them, so to speak. After the money begins rolling in and the fame begins surrounding them, they want to become stars in the natural.
But if we are to be stars in the Spirit, we have to die first. We have to die to worldly glory. Many of the gospel music artistes alive today, in my country and elsewhere, need to realize that they are alive because of God’s mercy. They are alive because God is giving them chance after chance to glorify Him alone through the gift of music that He has given them. In other words, God is giving them all the rope He can. It is because He loves them. And when He takes them home at an early age, it is also out of love.
[One day, even the sun will die]