Posted by: Veroni Kruger | January 8, 2014

Kobus van Rensburg is dead

The recent passing of two leaders has made me contemplate the meaning of death again. One was Nelson Mandela, beloved and respected first president of South Africa since the first truly democratic elections in that country. The other was Kobus van Rensburg, also beloved and respected, although by a much smaller group, mostly people who felt they had benefited from his ministry.

A few years ago, when someone asked Mandela how he felt about ageing he said “How can I feel bad about something as natural as ageing?” I suspect he would respond in the same manner if someone were to have asked him how he felt about dying. The great man realized that dying is as natural as living.

According to Jesus, natural death is only the passage to life hereafter to those who believe in Him. No wonder then that the apostle Paul declares that death has no more power over the believer (1 Corinthians 15.55-57). To those who follow Christ, life after this earthly life is much more attractive than this one. Or is it?

I remember being perplexed as a young boy at the paradox in the confessions of people. In the church in which I grew up we sang many songs about how we long to be with Jesus. Yet those same people would pray desperately for healing if they or someone dear to them got sick. So here were these people who should see the serious illness as an opportunity to go to have their longing fulfilled, yet backing away from it as if this were the great enemy. My logic was and still is more or less like the little boy who was asked what you need to do to go to be with Jesus. “You got to die!” he said.

So why the tumultuous protestations about the death of Kobus van Rensburg? The following thoughts came to mind.

We run the risk of developing an unhealthy obsession with this life as if it were the beginning and the end. Jesus warns about becoming obsessed with the greatness of this life. It is a real danger even to people who profess to be followers of Jesus.

Sadly, there is often a lack of understanding of what the Bible teaches about death. The comments I made above show how we should view death. Someone once said “Death is not a black wall signifying the absolute end. Rather it is a white passageway indicating the beginning!”

Lack of faith in God is our greatest enemy. Is it God we trust, or is our trust ultimately in a human being? God was pointing Joshua to the right approach when he said: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land that I am about to give them” (Joshua 1.2). Leaders come and go, but God is always with us.

When we do not really trust God above all else, we easily develop an unhealthy obsession with a human being. We praise God for the gifts and talents he bestows on human beings. We are grateful when they exercise those gifts for the benefit of many around them and for the extension of the Kingdom of God. If they do so in the right manner, they will always point to Jesus rather than to themselves. If the gifted person or those who follow him or her go beyond that in any way and draws more attention to themselves, they run the risk of becoming idolators – worshipping themselves. Moreover, they may be cultivating idolators around them – people who in effect worship the leaders more than God.

However “strong” the leader may be, when he or she comes to the end of their life, our attitude should be: We are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore we are not leaderless. We have learned previous lessons from human leaders, and we will continue to exercise the best of those practices in following the Lord. We have the Word of God, of which the Lord said it shall never pass away, even if heaven and earth were to disappear.

Kobus van Rensburg is dead; Mandela is dead; Moses is dead; leaders come and go. Jesus is alive!

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Responses

  1. Mooi gese, Broer. Ons is mos maar net “op pad”.

  2. Thank you. Insightful. True.

  3. Very true!

  4. Goed gestel, dankie.

  5. Ja, Veroni, ek dink dit is vir ons soos dit seker vir prinses Grace was. Sy het seker gewonder of sy nie moet bly by die glamour van Holiwood nie, want sy het nie geweet hoe dit gaan wees om Prinses van Monaco te wees nie. Die mense om haar wou haar seker ook liewer daar gehou het, want hulle het ook nie geweet hoe dit vir haar gaan wees om Prinses te wees nie.

    Ons is ook op pad om Prinse te word. Party moet nog skarrel om geldige paspoort te kry, ander is al gereed, party is al op die lughawe en daar is van ons wat al by Gate 7 staan en wag vir ons aankondiging. Vrees en gespanne vir die onbekende, maar opgewonde om daar te kom!

  6. Amen! Die Woord bly waar! Dankie.


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