Once again, our tragedy-weary ears were subjected to unexpected and tragic news. Actor and humanitarian Paul Walker had been killed, alongside his friend, in a horrific and gut-wrenching auto accident.
It's not so much that Walker was a more valuable or worthy person compared with the thousands who perished in the recent typhoon in the Philippines, or anyone else whose life is cut short for that matter. But that being said, it seems to me that Walker was an especially kindhearted and generous person who used his gifts and talents to inspire millions. And when that unique type of person is taken early from this earth, we feel an especially harsh sting in our hearts.
However as I browsed through the tributes and testimonies regarding Paul Walker, I was comforted by the fact that he had taken care of his eternal destiny:
"I'm a Christian now…The people I don't understand are atheists. I go surfing and snowboarding and I'm always around nature. I look at everything and think, 'Who couldn't believe there's a God? Is all this a mistake?' It just blows me away." (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908094/bio)
Of course, I realize that salvation and eternity in heaven is not granted to someone simply because he/she claims to be a Christian, but it appears to me that Walker was a person who lived out the convictions of someone who followed Jesus. My hope is that he is rejoicing in the presence of the Savior and reunited with his loved ones.
My hope, as well, is that Walker's untimely death serves as a timely reminder that our journey here on earth is tentative at best, because that's the way he lived! Listen to God's perspective on this matter:
So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don't run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times (Ephesians 5:15-16, The Voice).
Paul Walker was "mindful of his steps," and we should be, as well.
The Lord has probably not called you to be a famous actor, but He has given you the responsibility to "make the most of every living and breathing moment."
How? For many people, this sounds like yolo, or some other worldview that justifies living for pleasure and selfish pursuits. But the word in the original language of the Bible for "make the most" is literally translated "redeem." It has in mind something that is purchased out of slavery into freedom. In other words, making the most out your life requires a conscious effort and even a sacrifice, so you can break free from the slavery of our natural narcissism.
If we don't specifically look for every opportunity to serve others, live with excellence, and exemplify compassion in the name of Jesus Christ, we will default to the bondage of meaningless and ultimately worthless lifestyle that is all too common in our culture.
But if we, like Walker, view our time on earth as a gift that can be "purchased back" from futility for God's glory, we will find a joy and contentment that is impossible to retain when we simply live for ourselves.
One way that Walker exemplified this truth was through his generous efforts to help the victims of natural disasters. In 2009, he established a non-profit organization called Reach Out Worldwide, and part of the proceeds from The Fast and The Furious 6 DVD are being donated to continue his legacy.
So my question would be this…what is your "reach out worldwide"? You see, I believe one of the best ways we can honor the people we admired when they pass away is to emulate their godly characteristics. Walker had a heart for people devastated by nature, do we have a heart for souls devastated by their sin nature? Are we willing to redeem our time here on earth for THE Cause of Christ?
If not, then in many ways we are wasting the opportunity to honor the memory of Paul Walker, a Christian who wanted to make the most of every living and breathing moment.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, may he rest in peace and rejoice in the presence of his Father.