If we could plan to meet for coffee one afternoon, I’m sure we would talk about normal everyday kinds of things. But there would be a moment when the conversation turned to the more personal side, where I would share heart to heart what is currently going on in my life. There would be tears of sadness, followed by tears of gratefulness, but always the main point of the communication would be biblical fellowship. What is that, you might ask? It’s when two Christians (friends or spouses) sit down and talk about life in light of eternity. It’s talking about the things that matter most in the midst of the mundane, and attempting to make sense of it all using the infallible words of Scripture as the framework.
So, grab a cup and let me share with you what’s on my heart and mind lately. I pray we’ll find biblical fellowship together and both be encouraged as a result. I’d love to hear your comments as well! The following was first posted at debigraywalter.com on my birthday.
Last month I turned 54. 54! How did that happen? I know, I know, the answer is simple–one year at a time. But wow.
This was my first birthday without my Mom and Dad (He died in 2004), who were used by God to give me life in July of 1959. My Dad led me down the aisle of our little baptist church in 1969. It is strange to no longer have parents here, but they’re not gone. They’ve just relocated to a better place. And because of God’s gift of salvation to me on December 19, 1969, I will see them again. Until that day I am resolved to live out the rest of my years in glorifying the One True God who gives life to all who call on His name and choose to follow Him.
Jonathan Edwards was considered to be one of the greatest American philosopher/theologians of his time and was a key figure in what has become known as The Great Awakening of the 18th century. He has been quoted as saying:
“Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.”
The Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman trial has received unbelievable media coverage this past month. We live only a few minutes from Sanford, FL. so it was with great interest that we stayed up with the trial. When that February night occurred in 2012, neither Trayvon nor George knew that their lives were going to be permanently changed as a result of the choices they made. My point isn’t to discuss which side was right/wrong, for both lost in my opinion. But their case stands as a stark reminder of Mr. Edwards quote. I ask myself,
- Am I living today as if it were my last?
- What do I want to be known for?
- If my epitaph was to be written tomorrow, what would it say?
- Better yet, what would I want it to say?
I heard someone suggest that we take time to write the epitaph we would want written about us today. Then, make our choices based on that goal. Of course, even those who have the best intentions can’t always guarantee their life will play out as planned. This is why my epitaph should reflect God’s work in my life and not my own plans.
Some of my favorite epitaphs include:
Looking into the portals of eternity teaches that the brotherhood of man is inspired by God’s Word; then all prejudice of race vanishes away.
The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents worn out, and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by its Author.
Evangelist Billy Sunday
“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.” – 2 Timothy 4:7
Wife and Mother, Frances Lowe – died November 28, 1877
A loving mother and devoted wife has gone to her rest, and the light has gone out in the happy home. Graces with those rare virtues which are peculiar only to her sex, the deceased was all the wife and mother could be. Her sorrowing husband to whom she had been a faithful and loving companion for so many happy years, now that she is gone will cherish her memory and children whom she has tenderly reared will arise up and call her blessed.
John T. Whitehead – died September 11, 1860
In All Life’s Relations He Exemplified The Virtues Of The Christian And Gentleman, And Won The Love Of All. He Was Beloved By His Family, Cheerful In Company, Conscientious In Spirit, Successful In Business, Patient In Affliction, And Victorious In Death. The Love Of This Community Claimed A Longer Stay, But Higher Attraction Prevailed, Earth Yielded, And Heaven Bore Away The Prize. The Key To His Most Triumphant Death Is Found In His Dying Request, To Be Put Upon His Tomb, “I Am A Man Of Prayer.”
(source for some epitaphs: Southern Graves blog)
After taking the last delicious sip of my latte, I would look in your eyes and ask, so what about you? What’s going on in your life and how can I pray for you? What would you want your epitaph to say?
Awesome ponderings my friend, would love to have coffee with you!
My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with lung cancer – I suspect she doesn’t have too much time left. I desire to love her well, praying that her last days on earth are full and that she knows just how much she’s loved. How thankful I am for my husband, her 8th child! I also feel an increased responsibility to love my husband all that much more. There’s just something about mom’s… you know they will ALWAYS be there for you. They provide a type of “security” with their unconditional love. I pray my husband always feels that same sense of security – genuine unconditional love – from me.
My heart’s desire is to make everyone I come in contact with feel special, and know they are loved and cared about.
What a kindness and honor you are showing your mom in law. To be there with him helping him show her the respect she’s due. I’m sorry to hear of her diagnosis, but it is a road we all must take. Enjoy every minute and every conversation you are able to have with her.
Many years ago the Lord impressed upon me that my epitaph should be “And God Smiled”. I’ve tried to live my life in such a way that would cause Him to smile. Or laugh! I’ve failed many times. At this stage of my life, He’s called me “get out of the boat and try walking on some water” Scary… but He has never failed me. So into the water I’ve gone and I’m sure He is smiling! Each day is a gift with no guarantees. To live each day with conscious recognition of Him is truly an adventure… and when I live like that, He really does smile.
I love that! What a great way to begin each day being mindful of making choices that will make Him smile…not to earn His favor, for we’ve already received His unmerited favor through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. But to make Him smile. Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ll dwell on it for awhile.
MY favorite epitaph was read in Westminster Abbey on our trip to London. I do not remember the man’s name but I am look forward to meeting him in Heaven.
Here is what it says: “Here lies John (Somebody) beloved Husband and Father. He dies anxiously waiting the return of our LORD, and Savior, Jesus Christ.” The date was 1500 something! Amazing! Always reminds me of Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Wow. Thank you for sharing this Annie!