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At 11 AM, local Australia time, on September 4, 2006, beloved, albeit eccentric naturalist, Steve Irwin, was killed by a stingray while filming a documentary at the Great Barrier Reef. It appears that he got too close to a bull stingray that, feeling threatened, acted on its instinct of survival by throwing its tail with its spike up towards Irwin. Being in such close proximity with the creature, the spike plunged into Irwin’s chest and punctured his heart. He died instantly.

If you have ever watched the “Crocodile Hunter” in action, then you already know that he had a habit of putting his life in jeopardy to educate and entertain the viewers of his programs. He literally got “up close and personal” to the animals that he sought to preserve. It was not unusual to see Irwin handle deadly snakes or wrestle the occasional crocodile. Yes, he had scars that served as testimony of the potential danger such creatures possessed. In the end, however, it was his relative inexperience with stingrays that brought about his demise. A colleague that watched the footage of Irwin’s death said that he had inadvertently boxed the stingray in, provoking the attack. Irwin’s producer, John Stainton, made a comment about his friend, a portion of which, serves as the title for this article: “He died doing what he loves best, and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind.”

Irwin’s daredevil character aside, would you not want the same to be said of you when you depart this world and enter into eternity? Or, could it be that you would fear dying in the process of doing what you love best? The answers to those questions serve as a commentary of your present condition in the eyes of Heaven. If you were to die doing something of which you would be ashamed for others to know about, do you not know that God already is aware of those actions? As David testified concerning God in Psalm 139:7-12:

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”? even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you (ESV).

May it be that our character is consistent and that our actions in public as well as “behind closed doors” are such that it would not deny us our place in heaven.

Steve Irwin

The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin