Today we remember a father, son, brother, singer, lyricist, and humanitarian: Michael Jackson. He said the words from Luke 18:17 were very important to him: "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." After not having a childhood of his own due to his singing career, Jackson tried to live like a child when we was an adult. An example of this was his Neverland Ranch, which had a zoo, amusement park, and movie theater. But Jackson didn't keep this ranch to himself. He brought joy to thousands of terminally ill children by hosting them at his ranch. He made sure that all the children laughed and played - and, if only for a moment, got to be a "normal" kid. They got to pet animals, enjoy rides, and watch movies just like anyone else. This ministry to children was an important way that Jackson was able to "receive the Kingdom of God as a child." He said this was the way he lived out his faith. Jackson also used his money to support the work of non-profit organizations. He donated hundreds of millions of dollars to many different charities all over the world. In fact, The Guinness Book of World Records calls Jackson the "Pop Star who supports the most charity organizations." Many of these charities support children. So, Jackson certainly received the Kingdom of God as a child - and helped many others to do so as well. And now Jackson's ministry - expressed through his music and charity - will continue to live on. May Jackson's legacy inspire all of us to support and care for children, near and far.
Jennifer Hudson singing Michael Jackson's song "Will You Be There?" at Jackson's memorial service in Los Angeles, CA.