Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant dead.
The text notification flashed across the screen of my smartphone as I tossed the bundle of Sunday morning stuff I held in my hands on the baby grand piano occupying our living room. I rushed over to disarm our alarm, shaking my head. Surely, I’d misread the notification.
I plopped down on the couch and frantically scoured the internet. Aside from a Twitter notification sharing that TMZ had reported Kobe’s death, the world-wide-web responded with an eerie silence. I turned on our TV and flipped the channel to ESPN. Nothing. I scanned the local news outlets and the 24/365 news networks. Nothing. Another notification popped up on my phone. I flipped back over to ESPN. And there it was…early confirmation that Kobe Bryant and a group of others had been killed in a helicopter crash.
Instantly, networks and websites began sharing the news.
In the days since his death and the death of eight others, including one of his daughters, the outpouring has been overwhelming. I’ve had several conversations with people about Bryant’s sudden death, including during several of my worksite visits as a chaplain. The stories of the impact and influence that Kobe had on an incredible number of people, including a younger generation that grew up with him as an iconic NBA hero, have flooded social media and TV programming.
I didn’t know Kobe. I’ve never met him. I knew of him. But I didn’t really know about the man I’ve come to know better in the days after his death. Like many of you, I’ve learned a lot more about #24 since last Sunday. Here are 3 takeaways from how Kobe lived.
- Love your family well.
The pictures and video of Kobe with his family, especially with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, speak volumes about the love he had for his family. Family mattered to Kobe. I don’t think he took them for granted. On the contrary, he appears to have lived every moment of his post-career cherishing his loved ones.
One of my goals for 2020 is to focus more on my family by investing more time in them and loving them better. Family is precious. We shouldn’t take our loved ones for granted.
How are things with your family? Could they be better? If so, what action step can you take to improve your family relationships?
- How you treat others matters.
It is evident from the hundreds of people who have spoken about him that Kobe cared about people and treated them well. He made them feel valued, respected and loved. His sphere of influence extended beyond those in his own sport. He inspired other athletes, not just from a distance, but by personally demonstrating his interest in helping them become the best they could be. He didn’t limit his influence solely to athletes but showered it upon people from all walks of life, inspiring them to be the best at whatever they were doing.
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Luke 6:31 (NASB)
Having the drive to be the best—the Mamba mentality—don’t quit, don’t cover, don’t retreat, don’t make excuses—served him well and has inspired others to work hard at their craft, regardless of their gifts, talents, or skills. Kobe made people around him better and left them better because of his presence in their life.
Are the people in your life better because of your presence? Do you lift up, encourage, and/or inspire others? Who in your sphere of influence can benefit from you investing time in them?
- Live life fully and abundantly.
We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Only God knows the number of our days. We aren’t even assured the very next minute, let alone the next morning. Make the most of the days you have and cherish the precious moments God grants you to live a life of significance by fulfilling your God-given purpose. You are unique. There is only one you. You have value. You are created for a reason. Your life matters. Don’t waste it.
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 (NASB)
From what I have learned through personal testimonies and stories that others have shared about Kobe, he understood how precious life was. He made the most of it. As he grew and matured, he became increasingly more selfless, sharing his God-given gifts, those that went beyond dribbling and shooting a basketball, with others. He left a legacy. He made his mark. No doubt, he’ll be long remembered for who he was, how he lived, and by those he inspired.
What is the most important thing you need to do today? Is there something keeping you from accomplishing it? Will you do it? How will it impact others?
It’s sad and tragic when those we love and admire die suddenly. Yet, death doesn’t discriminate. It comes calling for us all. It’s up to us to make the most of the dash of time we’re granted between the time we’re born and the time we leave this world.
For me, as a believer, death is not the end, but the beginning of another chapter. My prayer is that God would graciously grant me the opportunity to finish my part in His story well, living out my God-given purpose faithfully and in a way that brings Him joy and glory.
I pray the same is true for you.
Love one another. (John 13:34)
The Devotional Guy™
ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Chaplain Rainer Bantau, a Swiss-born, German kid who grew up in East Texas and today ministers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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