24 After certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. Acts 24:24-26
We are all instruments in the hands of God. God has the right to use us in any way He wants; after all, it is He who created us.
A few days ago, in one of our large cities here in Tanzania, over 20 people were trampled to death as they were rushing to dip their feet in so-called holy oil in an open-air meeting held by one of the many fake apostles and prophets that nowadays characterize the modern church. Many more people were injured.
Many theories were presented as to what could possibly have caused such a huge disaster. But to me it was clear that, after having warned His people through various means against these false apostles and prophets, God decided to use a different method. He chose certain of His subjects (the people who died) to teach others a lesson. God said, “Maybe the rest will learn from these.”
In other words, God was exercising His right to use those people any way He liked. And He liked it that way. Not that it was necessarily pleasing to Him to see them die. (And I have no idea where they went.) He was not cheering their deaths. But He had a point to make and He would have it made. Nothing that happened on that day was accidental. Even the people who died were very carefully chosen by Him.
Now, God used those people to make a statement concerning the dangers inherent in the present-day false apostolic and prophetic ministries. (You would have to be very high on drugs to not realize or acknowledge that a ‘ministry’ where people are trampling each other to death is not of God). God was telling His people, the church, “Come out from among them!”
Now the whole country, at least those who are willing to acknowledge it, are aware that these ministries of ‘anointed’ oil, ‘anointed’ water, etc, are not of God, but of the devil. They kill, defraud and do many other harmful things to God’s people.
In the same way that God used these people in my country, I believe He used Kobe Bryant to make a wake-up call to the world. I have no way of knowing whether Kobe had made his peace with God before he died. But whether he had or not, the first and foremost fact is that Kobe was an instrument of God. God had every right to use him any way He wanted.
And God used him. I doubt there is anyone out there among the world’s high and mighty who now doubts the fact of death. And that it can pick you out anywhere and at any moment.
Kobe was not only famous. He was also a powerful and influential figure in worldly circles. People like Kobe are people who are generally viewed by the world as indestructible. That is the way human nature is: we tend to place people on impossible pedestals. That is why his death, which came right out of the blue, was such a shocker to many.
Felix was the governor of Judea, and when Paul met him, he did not mince words with him concerning his final resting place. He told him the truth. Paul pinned down on the important aspects of life. He told Governor Felix that if his life was not built on righteousness and temperance, he would face eternal damnation in hell. Paul did not look upon the greatness of Felix; he saw a sinner before him.
The Apostle Paul was chosen by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to kings and rulers. Paul was also an instrument in God’s hands. He preached the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom of righteousness and temperance – to these powerful men and women. These were men who had the opportunity to live lives of excess, and he warned them against it.
Larger than life or not, we will all come into the judgment seat of Christ. I am not in any way judging Kobe. I hardly know him. And as I said, it could well be that he had made his peace with God before his death. But God used him to loudly proclaim to a sinful world that death will ultimately usher us into His presence and that for this reason we should hearken to the message of Paul to Felix:
“… he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come”.
Many memorial services will be held for Kobe Bryant; but none of these things matter now as far as he is concerned. What matters is the life he lived prior to his death. God expected him to live every day of his 41 years here on earth in righteousness and temperance, and that is what he will answer for before God.
And so it will be with every one of us. May God help us all!