Cemetery Contemplations

If you have ever spent any time visiting a cemetery then you have no doubt seen some very interesting epitaphs. Some are very funny such as, “I told you I was sick”, and “Here lies the body of Emily White, she signaled left, and then turned right.” Some are very thought provoking such as, “Remember friends as you past by here, as you are now I once was. As I am now you’re soon to be, so prepare yourself to follow me.”

One of the most disturbing epitaphs I have personally seen was in a rural cemetery in Alabama. In the middle of that cemetery were two headstones side by side, and based on the names and dates they were undoubtedly husband and wife. The husband died a few years before his wife did, and in addition to his name, birth and death dates, was a beautiful Bible verse. Anyone viewing his headstone would most likely think he was a Christian. His wife died a few years later, and written under her birth and death dates were the words, “There is no God, so leave me alone, leave me alone.” One can only speculate the reasons for those words. She undoubtedly didn’t believe in God, and perhaps was weary of friends and family trying to persuade her to embrace salvation in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote his own epitaph in a letter to his friend saying, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

What epitaph would you want written on your headstone? What message would you want to convey to those who may see your headstone? More important than what is written on that headstone is what you will be remembered for. When people see your name on a grave marker, what thoughts will come to mind?  Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” Most of us don’t really like to think or talk about death, however, doing so can be a great reminder that while we still have life left in us there is time to make changes, time to ensure we leave this life with a good name. That is important for our children, for our grandchildren, and for the rewards we may receive at The Judgment Seat of Christ. When people see your name, what thoughts will come to their mind? There is still time to make changes, to be remembered as “Christ like.”
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).