Even the Greatest Can’t Win Every Battle

Yesterday we heard the sad news that boxing legend Muhammad Ali had passed away. Ali was famous for his quick one-liners and arrogant attitude. It made him compulsively watchable.

I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark.

But even though Ali named himself “the greatest” his family are today mourning his loss. Life teaches us many things but perhaps the biggest lesson we all need to learn is that death is inescapable. Even Ali knew that:

Live every day like it’s your last, because someday you’re going to be right.

3,000 years ago the writer of Ecclesiastes was thinking about the same things…

Eccl. 8:8 As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death.

No matter how successful, how powerful, how clever we are it’s unavoidable. Even the self-proclaimed “greatest” can claim,

I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.

but this morning the papers are publishing his obituary. Unsurprisingly the Bible has some thoughts for us on this.

Rom. 6:9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

There is only one truly “greatest” man; Jesus Christ. Not proud or arrogant, He made little of Himself and went to what looked like a final defeat at the Cross. But in His Resurrection we see true greatness and the power to overcome even the greatest opponent, death. When the final bell rings I know who’s corner I want to be in.

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