The Best Tombstones

I wandered through a cemetery last summer, searching for the grave of an old friend. In the process, I passed by some old headstones, “nameless” from weathering. I remember thinking, “I hope their lives were about more than names on a chunk of rock!”

Charles H. Spurgeon once addressed this, saying, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” (Profound, isn’t it? Spurgeon always had a way of capsulizing great thoughts. Another favorite of mine is: “Of two evils, choose neither.”)

There is a time appointed for death—we are all terminal—and the Bible says every one of us will face a time of judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We can’t know a person’s destiny by looking at a gravestone—except, perhaps, in some cases where the date of a deceased person’s New Birth is inscribed—but everyone leaves behind something of who they were.

When I attend funerals, I find sweet comfort in Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Though there is pain when loved ones pass into eternity, when they are believers who have carved their love and character upon our hearts, sweet memories remain.

When you have time, linger in a cemetery and think about your own future. When you are gone, how will others remember you? What choices are you making today that are etching memories on the hearts of the people you love?

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