There is a time to be born and a time to die. (King Solomon)
After working in the yard Thursday I came inside and began watching television; every news station was announcing that Michael Jackson had collapsed in his house and was being rushed to the hospital. Then while channel surfing, Denise White of My Fox Tampa Bay, said, “Michael Jackson is dead.” Suddenly, it dawned on me—the man many proclaim as the greatest entertainer of the twentieth century died at age fifty. Instantly, I was taken back to my sister’s room in the 1970’s.
When she was away I’d go into her bedroom and listen to music; of course Rita was a Michael Jackson fan and had two records that I loved: I’ll Be There and ABC. A promoter who worked for MJ stated, “When Michael was a boy he acted like a man and as a man he acted like a boy.” Michael can best be described in the early days of his career as a “cool kid” that everyone would love to have as a little brother. He grew and became a great performer; maybe to a level that no other will ever achieve; he knew how to entertain but he struggled with how to live. A host of gifted personalities have fought tremendous battles in their personal lives: Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Amy Winehouse, Lil Peep, Mac Miller, Elvis Presley and many many others. But struggling with stardom is not a modern dilemma; it dates back thousands of years.
King Solomon was the wisest, richest and most popular king on earth in his day. His advice and wisdom was sought by many and his advice was in much demand. Hundreds of millions of people in the last thirty centuries have been inspired by reading his Proverbs. But Solomon’s autobiography is negative. He writes, “I have obtained greatness and increased more than anyone before me. I made my works great. I built houses … acquired male and female servants … I had great possessions … and amassed fortunes … I surrounded myself with singers, and owned musical instruments of all kinds. I became great and excelled more than all who were before me.
I did not withhold from my eyes or heart any desirable pleasure. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I worked to achieve, everything was meaningless … nothing was gained.” Solomon concludes his story by offering this advice, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before trouble comes and the years approach when you will say I find no pleasure in them. Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. Every deed will be judged; every hidden thing both good and evil.” Clouds and sunshine surrounded MJ’s life; some will remember the clouds; others the sunshine of his gifts; most will remember some of each: but all will remember.