4.26.2012

Thoughts for Thursday: My Epitaph

Not to be dark and dreary, but have you ever thought about what you'd have written on your tombstone?  When I was little, because of Halloween decorations I used to think that every tombstone had to say how that person died.  So, being a klutzy child, I was afraid I'd die in an embarrassing way, and then it would be recorded for the rest of Earth's days.  Maybe something like:

"Here lies Amanda.  She died of asphyxiation on the toilet."  or "RIP Amanda.  She rolled her ankle one too many times, and this time into traffic."

I don't know why I thought that.  What got me thinking unseasonably about epitaphs was a chapter I read in Slave by John MacArthur.  I'm going through the book with a dear friend (we've gone through many, and each one kicks our butts!), and we were reading about John Newton, the runaway/slave trader turned minister/song writer.  Think you don't know who he is?  Think again; if you've ever sung "Amazing Grace," you've sung one of his hymns.  His live was a powerful example of God's sovereign plan and grace, and if you haven't read about him, I encourage you to do so.  According to the book, his epitaph read like so:

JOHN NEWTON, Clerk
once an Infidel and Libertine,
a Servant of Slaves in Africa,
was, by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Saviour

JESUS CHRIST,

preserved, restored, pardoned,
and appointed to preach the faith
he had long laboured to destroy

Beautiful, isn't it?  But so humble and so rich in truth.  It made me think about what I'd want etched on my tombstone.  Nothing about just me, because anything I am or have is due to Christ.  I'd like it to be a final, permanent testimony to Jesus' sacrifice and work in my life; a way for me tell others about salvation from "beyond the grave."  Well at least, quite literally, from the grave.  And if that's what I want my tombstone to say, I'd better make sure I'm living that now. 

Perhaps this is too dark for a Thursday, but I think it's important.  It's important to think about what kind of legacy we want to leave-- not just what we etch in stone, but what we leave behind as memories of our conduct, as testimonies to our God.  I hope mine is something a little like Newton's.  What about you?

xoxo, A