What Every Christian Can Learn from Whitney Houston’s Life

In his book, “The Glory of Living: Keys to Releasing Your Personal Glory,” Myles Munroe writes:

A bird was created to fly; therefore, the glory of a bird is to fly…. A fish was created to swim; therefore, the glory of a fish is to swim….That which is natural to a thing is its glory.

From the first day that Whitney Elizabeth Houston took the stage at Elizabeth Baptist Church is was clear that she had been uniquely gifted by God to sing. She effortlessly filled the air with beautiful melodies, riffs and runs—at once breathy, tender and sweet and then in an instant commanding, powerful and soaring. Her’s was a voice of a lifetime and when, on February 11, 2012 at 3:55 p.m. PST she was pronounced dead, the world took notice. The New York Times reported that by 5 p.m. PST, just an hour after her death was first reported (on Twitter), 18 percent of all Twitter posts mentioned “Whitney.” Tospy.com reported that, “The first full hour after the news broke saw 2,481,652 tweets and retweets, peaking at 61,227 tweets at 5:23 p.m. PST. That is over a thousand tweets a second…”

But why? 

Why such a public outpouring of grief for someone whom most of the people grieving had never met? I think it has alot to do with what Dr. Munroe shared which Oprah Winfrey echoed in her Twitter eulogy of Houston: “To me Whitney was THE VOICE. We got to hear a part of God every time she sang. Heart is heavy, spirit grateful for the GIFT of her.”

Wow, “got to hear a part of God every time she sang”? It seems almost idolatrous for Oprah to suggest such a thing but upon I think Oprah comes pretty close to describing what every Christian’s eulogy should be. Let me explain.

God is the source of all power and strength. All beauty and ability come from Him. He is the Creator.

At the same time, we are His children, made in His image and likeness and given gifts, talents and skills as it pleases Him.

To revisit the analogy of the fish and birds, God has embedded glory within each of us and that glory is revealed when we do that thing which comes “natural” to us.

Consider these two passages of Scripture:

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8

Imagine if the bird became preoccupied with the fish and spent his time trying to swim—we’d never know the beauty of a bird in flight. Or, what if the eagle tried to mimic another bird, the flamingo—we’d never know the grace of an eagle that soars. The point is easily made that, just as in nature, God has given each creature a separate and distinct nature or glory, so it is with us His children.

There is something that you do, almost effortlessly or naturally and when you do it, you expose glory—that part of God that we would not see except He had made you and shared His glory with us through you. In life, Whitney Houston shared her glory—her uniquely God-given potential—with the world and when she did, more than 170 million albums were sold. That is a remarkable feat that puts her in the top 15 selling artists of all-time.

When you share the glory God has given you, it may not bring fame, notoriety or a hefty paycheck, but as you are faithful to serve your gift to the world, you’ll find that people will be drawn to it and to you which will give you the opportunity to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16).

In short, the lesson every Christian should learn from the life of Whitney Houston is that when you serve your gift to the world, it matters and people will notice and you will have the opportunity to bring praise back to the only One fit to receive it—God.

Until we speak again, keep first things first!