Several years ago I heard someone share a message, and while I can’t remember much about it there was one point that has really stuck with me over the years. The question was simply asked, “What would be on your tombstone?” The idea behind the question was to cause us to take a moment and consider what others would have to say about us after we died, and what would they put on your tombstone. Really, quite a pointed question when you stop and think about it. After all, there usually isn’t a lot of space on a tombstone so people would have to sum up in as few words as possible what you were all about. You’ve seen them. Some have said, “He was a good father”, “She loved her children”, “He gave it his all”, and so forth.
So, the question to be asked is simply, “what would people put on your tombstone?” Would they put something on it to remember the financial successes you’ve had, or the many accomplishments you’ve made, or the number of college degrees you’ve obtained? Would they put something on it to remember the type of parent you were, how you related to others, or whether or not you were a person of integrity and character? Would they remember you as a jovial and cheerful person, or as a hot tempered, rude individual? Perhaps they would say something that would identify what made you “tick”, what the driving force in your life was, or what was most important to you? There are countless things that could be put on a tombstone, but the question is asked what would be on your tombstone.
As you consider this question, when you think of what people may or may not say about you, is it what you would want them to say about you? Would it be something that you would be proud of, or is it something you would be ashamed of? While it is true that you can’t change your past, you can change the direction of your future, which means that you can change what people may say about you and how they will remember you. When we think of Matthew in the Bible, we don’t remember him as the tax collector but as the disciple of Christ. When we think of Paul we don’t remember him as the violent persecuter of the Christians but as one of the most powerful Apostles of the Christian faith and the one who wrote 2/3’s of the New Testament. When we think of Moses we don’t remember him as an heir to the Egyptian throne but as the one who led the Israelites out of Egypt. No matter what your past, if it is something that you are not proud of or don’t want to be remembered by, you have an opportunity from this day on to make the necessary changes to become the person you most want to be remembered by. While there may always be some who will be determined to remember you in a light that is either not accurate, or is based on unresolved issues within themselves, or based on a perception of what they want to believe, you can resolve to live in such a way that the majority of people will remember you as you want to be remembered.
When I think of myself, even though I can think of a number of good things to be remembered by, the main thing I want to be remembered by is that I was someone who strived to be a true follower Christ. How about you? How do you want others to remember you after you cross over to the other side of eternity? Think about it.
Copyright 2012 – John Johansson