Matthew 5: 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
There were not many people in the world who did not hear the news on Sunday, January 26, 2020, that NBA Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter, and seven others had tragically perished in a helicopter crash. The group was traveling to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba academy.
My daughter, a huge basketball fan, ran into the room to share the news with me. It truly was a shocker. As I watched sports broadcasts throughout the day and week, it was clear how devastating this news was to those who knew Kobe and his family the best – those he played with, those who coached and managed him, and those whom he mentored and inspired after his career.
Each life lost was a tragedy in itself, but because he was so well-known throughout the world, clearly the majority of attention was going to be on the impact of Kobe’s life. Athletically he was a fierce competitor, spending 20 seasons in the NBA (all with the Los Angeles Lakers), starting right out of high school. He was a 5-time NBA champion, and an 18-time All Star. But as close friends shared their memories of Kobe, they all seemed more impressed by Kobe’s effect after his career ended – his investment into youth basketball (such as his daughter’s team), and his mentoring of up-and-coming basketball players. He was investing into much more than himself.
I don’t know where Kobe was at from a spiritual perspective, but it is evident that he had a light that was shining that made an impact on others. He was apparently a very present husband and father, firstly, and then a friend and mentor to many others. This apparently was extremely impactful, especially to the young men who were being mentored by him.
John Altobelli (a baseball coach at Orange Coast College), his wife and daughter (a teammate of Kobe’s daughter) were also among the passengers on the flight. Altobelli was described as an incredible mentor to the youth. The college head coach said: “Alto was one of the best men I’ve ever met,”.
These examples reminded me of a scripture. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16). As Christians we are called to bring the light of Christ to the world. There are times where we will be persecuted, but there are times where the way we conduct ourselves will be positively noticed. A key part of this scripture comes at its conclusion. The light we are casting is not meant to illuminate ourselves, but the intent is that the world “may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. While there may be some wonderful things said at your eulogy about you, ultimately, if the glory is not given to God, then it is misplaced. As Christians all we have is because of Christ. As Paul said: “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:31). May we all conduct ourselves in a way that our life shines a bright light in the ever-present darkness around us. In doing so, may our wonderful Father in Heaven be glorified.