Three people are leading the news this morning.
The first: Louis Arthur Charles.
Prince William and Kate Middleton announced this morning the name they have chosen for their baby boy. He will be known as “His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.” He is fifth in line to the throne.
The second: Baker Mayfield.
The Cleveland Browns surprised the football world by making the former Oklahoma quarterback the first player chosen in last night’s NFL draft. Mayfield won a plethora of awards this year, including the Heisman Trophy. Despite his height, he is known for his accuracy and athleticism.
We know that Mayfield will begin his professional career with great fanfare. However, we don’t know how he will end it.
Defensive end Myles Garrett was picked first last year by the Cleveland Browns, but he played in only ten games due to injury. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, selected first in 2007, played only three years in the league. Quarterback Tim Couch was picked first in 1999 but played only six seasons.
A tragic chapter in a celebrated story
The third: Bill Cosby.
Yesterday afternoon, a jury found Cosby guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman nearly fourteen years ago. The New York Times described the verdict as “capping the downfall of one of the world’s best-known entertainers, and offering a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.”
The Times reports that Cosby has admitted in recent years to “decades of philandering, and to giving quaaludes to women as part of an effort to have sex, smashing the image he had built as a moralizing public figure.” According to the Associated Press, he “lashed out at the prosecutor with an expletive-laden tirade” after his conviction.
Cosby plans to appeal the verdict. But whatever happens in future trials, this is a tragic chapter in a celebrated story.
Cosby received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He was known as “America’s Dad” for his portrayal of Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” from 1984 to 1992. He won five Grammy Awards as a comedian and three Emmy Awards for his role on “I Spy.”
He received more than fifty honorary degrees from universities across America. In recent years, most of his honorary degrees have been revoked.
Cosby could get up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine on each of the three counts for which he was convicted. According to Fox News, he is likely to receive a shorter sentence under state guidelines, but since he is eighty years old, “even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.”
“Finishing well is a lifelong thing”
Consider three biblical principles.
One: We build the future one day at a time.
Prince Louis will be remembered, not for his name, but for his contributions to his nation and the world. Baker Mayfield will build his career in the NFL, not by where he was drafted, but by how he performs on the field. And he will build his performance during games by how he practices and lives the rest of the time.
If our “delight is in the law of the Lord” so that we meditate on it “day and night,” we are “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:2, 3).
Are you delighted to obey the word of God today?
Two: No one is above accountability.
Bill Cosby’s conviction shows that the law applies to everyone, whatever their financial or social status. Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Kevin Spacey are just three of many celebrities who have proven this principle in recent years.
The prophet famously prayed, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). The psalmist observed, “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” (Psalm 106:3, my emphasis).
If you are harboring sin, confess it now. If you need to seek forgiveness from someone, seek it today. Just as you wouldn’t let cancer grow in your body, you must not let sin grow in your soul or in your relationships. It will only get worse.
Three: The race is not won until the end.
With royalty, athletes, celebrities, and the rest of us, it’s not where we begin the race that matters most, but where we finish. When Paul came to the end of his life, he could testify, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Ravi Zacharias: “Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
Are you finishing well?