Your Epitaph

But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days. (1 Samuel 31:11–13)

What do you think those who survive you will write as your epitaph? How will your obituary read? What words will be used in the eulogy to sum up your life? Saul's epitaph was a sad one, summing up the tragic life of this man who played such an important role in David's life. He was a king who could have been David's role model and mentor, but who instead almost became his murderer.

Like Saul and his sons, we are all going to die. There's no escaping it. That means that rather than denying death, we must come to terms with it.

Sometimes death is sudden. Sometimes it's long and drawn out. Occasionally, it is beautiful, sweet, and peaceful. At other times it is wrenching and hideous, bloody and ugly. There are times, from our viewpoint, it comes too early. On other occasions it seems the cold fingers of death linger too long as some dear soul endures pain and sadness, loneliness and senility. But however it comes . . . it comes to us all. There is no escape.

But here's the good news for Christians: We who know the Lord Jesus Christ carry within ourselves a renewed soul and spirit, that part of us which He invaded at the moment we were born from above—when we became Christians. He has taken up His residence there and has given us a new nature. Though our outer shell hurts and groans and is dying, our inner person is alive and vital, awaiting its home with the Lord. That connection occurs the moment—yes, the very moment—we die.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

What role are you playing today? Is it authentic? Is it genuinely Christian? If so, let me return to the questions I asked as you began this reading for today. What do you think those who survive you will write as your epitaph? How will your obituary read? What words will sum up your life?

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

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