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Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity. Titus 2:7

The death of NBA superstar and Basketball Icon, Kobe Bryant, has caused many people to think about life and the way it should be lived. Some brothers have reached out to me to express their grief and get some perspective. In the end, I hope that we will pause long enough to reflect on the way we invest our time, the way we treat people, and our relationship with God.

I hope that Kobe and everyone on board that helicopter had a right relationship with God. I prefer to think they are all in heaven with God looking down on the rest of us. In my sanctified imagination, I can hear Kobe say, “be a Black Mamba.”

The Black Mamba is a highly venomous slender olive-brown to dark gray snake with great speed and agility. It is the largest poisonous snake in the African continent and is native to eastern and southern Africa. Kobe nicknamed himself “The Black Mamba” to help him cope with the legal struggles he was going through off the court in 2003 and 2004.

Black Mamba symbolizes drive, relentless pursuit, total commitment, can-do attitude, and a refusal to surrender. Everyone around professional basketball says that Kobe expected excellence from himself and everyone around him. He was averse to mediocrity and did not tolerate excuses.

In today’s text, we are reminded to be a model of good works in all respects. When I heard the way Kobe was described by people who knew and worked with him, I decided to adopt the moniker of the Black Mamba. I want to be as driven, committed, focused, determined, and relentless, as Kobe was, in my desire to please God in all respects.

The sand in our hourglass is getting smaller. We each have to take time to reflect on our contribution to the world. If you were to die today, what would people say about you? That question speaks to our legacy.

Many of the men in my circle of influence say that the death of Kobe reminds them to rise above pettiness and not allow anyone to rob them of their joy for life. Some of these men see the death of Kobe as a reminder not to wait for tomorrow to start living in excellence. All these men are determined to show themselves a model of good works in all respects of life.

In an interview in 2015, Kobe said the Black Mamba moniker is his alter ego that helped him to excel despite personal struggle, criticisms, setbacks, and disappointments. Followers of Jesus Christ should not allow challenges and adversity to dampen their spiritual zeal. We should not give up when the going gets tough. Nor should we settle for mediocrity for the sake of artificial peace.

We have to demand excellence from ourselves and others. We have one life to life, and that life should be lived in excellence in every respect. We have to set the standard so high that even when we do not reach it, we would have done far more than most people.

It is time to release the Black Mamba in you. Notwithstanding your position, or education, or social status, or vocation, you have a Black Mamba in you. If you are serving in any capacity in ministry, it should be with a Black Mamba mentality. After all, all our service is unto the Lord and not to human beings. God deserves our best at all times.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, may we use this seminal moment in history as a motivation to let the world see the best you as we use our God-given gifts in excellence and to your glory.

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