Not My Legacy But Thine Be Done

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”


About David Berg

I live in a small town in Alberta, Canada. I pastor a small Baptist church and also work half-time on a local seed farm. It has been more than 25 years that I have been married to a most amazing and beautiful lady whose name is Wendy. Together we have three boys, and two beautiful daughter-in-laws. View all posts by David Berg

One response to “Not My Legacy But Thine Be Done

  • Kathy Blatz

    I’m convinced God has a sense of humor; I had a good chuckle when I tread those epitaphs. As I have mentioned before in my comments, even though you don’t know who I am, Wendy’s mother, Anne is my first cousin. If you would know my husband, Cornie and I personally, you would know how God led two very opposite people together. I am like an ‘energizer bunny’ who can’t sit still long to watch a move, etc. (and that is why I teach the 3 year olds in S.S.)….their attention span is about as long as mine is at age 59.) I also seem to have a heavy foot on my ‘verbal excelarator’ which usually is pushed to high RPM’s before my brain is fully in gear. It’s not that I accomplish a lot even though I am a high energy person….I just run around and talk and go from one thing to the next and at the end of the day I haven’t really completed nearly as many tasks as I thought I could get done (I’m wondering if I might have what is now called ADHD…only it wasn’t ‘invented’ when I was growing up). My husband, on the other hand is a very ‘laid back’ relaxed type of guy who knows what it means to be…..slow to anger and slow to speak… and yet can accomplish and complete more tasks than I can and still have lots of time to relax in his recliner …which he does whenever I manage to keep quiet long enough for him to go to sleep….and because he always seems to be tired. (Could it be that his ears are tired from listened to me???) And because I am usually revving at high speed, both externally and internally….I am always hot. Cornie, on the other hand is so relaxed both on the outside and on the inside so he is usually cold. We came home from a long bike ride on a gorgeous evening. I was wearing a light jacket in case it cooled off after sunset, and as we riding along, I told Cornie I needed to stop to take off my jacket because I was too hot. Then I looked at him and he was wearing a hoodie and a jacket. So I joking told him that someday his epitaph would say something like…’I told you I was tired and cold’! We laughed about it and then I come home and the first thing I did was go check my emails and here I read these humorous epitaph stories in your blog. Thank-you so much for the inspirational thoughts you share on a regular basis. I always look forward to them.

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