It's Time To Embrace

Recently, the entertainment world was seemingly rocked to its core as hip-hop star Mase retired from the rap game to follow God. There was once a pervading thought that entertainers only turned to God in an effort to kick-start a fading career. However, in the case of Mase and other well known public figures such as Woody (formerly of Dru Hill), Lauryn Hill, and most recently Dave Hollister, failingMase careers were not part of the picture. So one might ask, why would people of this stature openly confess a relationship with Christ? Why would these stars, some of which are household names, risk their livelihoods by declaring a genuine love for God?

These are questions that Iím sure have been asked by members of both the secular and sacred communities alike. Many canít possibly understand why anyone of their celebrity status would risk it all to follow Christ. I offer to you that we as the gospel community should spend less time questioning their motives and more time embracing them.

I believe that the reason that many canít believe that these celebrities would make this bold step is because many of us, if put in the same position, would decline the offer. Itís true. Many of us work 9 to 5 jobs only dreaming to have the prestige, fame, andDave Hollister money that has been heaped upon these public figures. There is this belief that believers and non-believers alike have arrived when weíve achieved a certain financial status. Few of us would be willing to give it all up to follow Christ. Thatís why many Christians are in the financial state that they are in. God knows that some of His children love money more than Him and before He takes the back seat to money, Heíll just opt not to give it to you. Thatís what makes these celebrities so special. They were willing to turn down more money in favor of answering the call of God.

Somewhere in the course of life, we forget that celebrities are people like you and me. All of the money, publicity, and fame does not erase a manís soul, accountability, or responsibility. In the heart and soul of every man lies a desire for right Woodyrelationship with God. We were created with the specific design to be in intimate relationship with God. In our search to find this bond with God, many people turn to many options. However, it is their heartfelt goal, consciously or unconsciously, to be one with God. The Bible supports this by stating, ďAll creation anticipates the day when it will join Godís children in glorious freedom from death and decay.Ē (Romans 8:21 NLT) These celebrities also long to know God. They long to be with God is a special way. Only God can fill the void that rests in the lives of these individuals.

I applaud my sisters and brothers for their holy boldness in expressing their relationship with God. Woodyís resignation from Dru Hill, Maseís retirement from rap, and Lauryn Hillís scripture-laced acceptance speeches on recent awards programs are far from publicity stunts. Many Christians today are scared to openly declare Christ in their own churches, let Lauryn Hillalone to a media world that views God as an anomaly and social deviance as normal behavior. It takes a lot for these artists to openly profess Christ. While many of us may fear one or two people ostracizing us, these stars put their livelihood on the line for their love for God.

This is the type of Christian that God is looking for. He needs a bold soldier who knows his or her purpose and is willing to fulfill it. Perhaps Lauryn Hill put it best, in her speech at the recent Essence Awards. She said, ďI realized that my purpose is to be a servant for Him. I want to let young people know that itís not a burden to love or represent God.Ē

As Christians, the time has come to embrace our new brothers and sisters in the Gospel. Many may have issues with this. However, I encourage you to be careful that in your hesitance and reservation that you avoid acting as some Jewish ChristiansMase did in the days of the early church. Remember that Jesus Christ didnít die just to save you. He died for Lauryn, Mase, Dave, and Woody too. They have the right to be heirs and joint-heirs, just as we do.

Donít forget that it wasnít all that long ago that many of us started down the right path. Letís not be judgmental. Indeed, it is time to embrace. Dave, Lauryn, Mase, and Woody, welcome to the family!!

ó editorial opinion by Gerard Bonner ó

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