In last week’s installment of Vice City. I specifically focused on athletes Mike Tyson and Tiger Woods.
In this final installment I will focus on two prominent figures in the music industry. Like being a pro athlete, being a musician can bring much acclaim as well as riches. Many of us aspire to reach a platform the magnitude of certain entertainers, however, these riches and acclaim come more temptation and more access to vices.
I once heard a wise man say, “give a person who has never had anything a million dollars, and it’s likely that million dollars will kill them in a year.” The wisest of them all also said, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I believe when we pray we should not only pray for our desires but also pray that God prepares us to carefully be able to handle them. Money is necessary to properly function within this world, but don’t let it come at the expense of your salvation.
“To be Bobby then, you gotta be Bobby now.” Those were profound lyrics from Jay Z referencing the infamous Bobby Brown. I recently saw two pictures side by side of Bobby. One was of him during his youth. He was in his prime and full of life. The other was more recent. His mouth was twisted and he appeared half way dead. Unfortunately Bobby’s ex wife Whitney Houston and their daughter Bobbi Kristina are dead. Many attribute their deaths to his influence. Looking at those pictures and contrasting the times, Jay’s lyrics speak volumes. Many of us are so blinded by temporal things we neglect the possible long term effects. Bobby’s vices have had a cumulative effect. Although Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s final moments of consciousness were both in a tub, neither were clean. I would imagine Bobby’s conscious isn’t either. The self proclaimed King of R&B prerogative seems to have been destruction.
The King of Pop Michael Jackson, is considered by many to be the greatest entertainer of all time. His father’s seemingly vice of driving his children to superstardom negated their child hoods. With the money they have generated, it appears to have been worth it. The bible speaks of Iron sharpening Iron. I believe the intent behind the sharpening defines the outcome. I remember an episode of Good Times where Janet Jackson who played Penny was burned with an iron by her mother. There is no doubt that Joseph Jackson was an iron in his children’s lives, but I can’t help but believe he burned them during the process. Few to none have had the gift to awe and captivate like Michael Jackson. Never have I witnessed a more polarizing figure than MJ. MJ died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his home. However, I don’t believe drugs were his biggest vice. I believe those vices were predicated upon his idea of perfection. If we pay close attention, we will notice all of our vices are relative to each other. I remember an interview where MJ alluded to the fact that he was motivated by constantly one upping himself. At the age of 50 carrying the weight of trying to thrill the world once again, was too much for his frail frame. MJ paid surgeons a lot of money to carve his face into his idea of perfection. He also paid a lot of money to create his personal sanctuary of “Neverland Ranch.” However, The Lord wishes to carve us out into his perfect image so that we may enter into his sanctuary.
Many people will look at entertainers and decide that they are aligned with God’s will based on the fruit of their tree. However, fame and riches don’t always define your fruit. Peace of mind and serenity does. I recently was strolling on Twitter when I came across a periscope of Benny Hinn. He was speaking on how many of us operate in the anointing of our office but not in God’s will. The Lord will provide us with gifts and let those gifts make a way for themselves. That way can sometimes equal many accolades and possessions. However, if that way doesn’t align with the Lord’s way, none of it will mean a thing in the eternal view. If you’re not using your gifts to advance his Kingdom, then those gifts are being used to advance your vice. Sacrifice the vice. If it comes at the expense of your salvation, it is not worth it