What do you want to be remembered for? We are all leaving a legacy, but few of us consider what that legacy will be while we are busy building it. Here are a couple of tombstones with epitaphs for folks who maybe should have given this some thought.
Arrabelle Young lived from 1794-1863:
Beneath this silent stone is laid
A noisy, antiquated maid,
Who from her cradle talked to death,
And never before was out of breath.
Here lies, returned to clay Miss Arabella Young,
Who on the eleventh day of May
Began to hold her tongue.
Or here’s what was said of Beza Wood:
In Memory of Beza Wood, Departed this life Nov. 2, 1837 – Age 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood enclosed in wood
One Wood within another.
The outer wood is very good:
We cannot praise the other.
So what do you want to be remembered for? Hebrews 11 is a sort of memorial to many great “heroes” of faith and a casual reading of it may lead one to believe that it is their accomplishments that are being lauded. But the beginning of chapter 12 “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” affirms something different.
The writer is not saying those listed are now witnesses of us, he is saying that they are witnesses to the faithfulness of God; witnesses of what God has done and continues to do; witnesses to the truth of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on our behalf.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of our faith”
I admire the desire of George Whitfield, whose popularity during the Great Awakening of the 18th century was of Rock Star proportions. He spoke to crowds in the tens of thousands, and it was said his voice could be heard for a mile. But this was his desire: “Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified” . . . Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted . . . after I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, ‘Here lies G.W. What sort of man he was the great day will discover”