Roger Ebert, the famous film critic, passed away last Thursday at the age of 70. He began his work as a film critic in 1967 with the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1975, Ebert teamed up with Gene Siskel, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, for a television show that began on Chicago’s Public Broadcasting Station before going nationwide with their own syndicated show. From a set resembling a theater balcony, the two film critics sparred with one another with their opinions of new movies, each giving a “thumbs-up” of approval or a “thumbs-down” of disapproval. After Siskel died from a brain tumor in 1999, Ebert continued the show for a while with Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper.
Ebert continued the work he loved through some serious struggles with his health. After cancer surgeries in 2006, he lost parts of his jaw and the ability to speak. Yet he came back to writing fulltime and even returned to television. In addition to his work for the Sun-Times and in television, he became a prolific user of social media in the last years of his life, connecting with hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter.
“You couldn't ask for a more extraordinary champion of films both large and small,” said Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer. “We all paid attention to whatever direction his thumb was pointing.”
Please consider this question: To whom do YOU look for a “thumbs-up” or a “thumbs-down” as to the value of your life?
There are many “critics” in the world to whom people turn for approval for their lives. The problem is that these critics can be RIGHT or they can be WRONG.
For example, writing in 2010, Ebert wrote that he didn’t fear death because he didn't think there was anything “on the other side of death to fear.”
According to the Word of God, Ebert’s statement is correct IF one is a Christian. The faithful child of God has nothing to fear “on the other side of death” because he is cleansed of his condemning sins by the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:7).
But Ebert’s evaluation is wrong, according to the Word of God, if one is outside of Christ. When Jesus, the Son of God, comes again, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
The TRUTH is that even though we are condemned because of our sins, God wants to save us and give us eternal life (Romans 6:23). He loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16).
God will save and give eternal life to those who: place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse those who live out their lives seeking the approval of One: the Lord Himself. After all, His is the only “opinion” (judgment) that counts.
What joy it will be to receive a “thumbs-up” from God and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Won’t YOU accept God’s offer of forgiveness and life?
David Sargent, Minister
Church of Christ at Creekwood
1901 Schillinger Rd. S.
Mobile, Alabama 36695
* Information gleaned from the Associated Press