Friday, December 9, 2011

What would your epitath read?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says, 
 1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Recently I attended a funeral of a lady that I didn't know personally.  I went as support for another family member.  The amazing thing was, by the end of this funeral I felt I had known this woman.  The other amazing thing was instead of crying through the service there was a lot of laughter.  There were stories shared about how she had made people laugh, made them feel at home, made them feel like she genuinely cared about them.  Because she had been going to the same church since she was a young woman, there were 4 different pastors that each spoke about her life and the impact she had on them.  This is what got me to thinking.  What would people say about me if I died.  What would my epitath read?
The Bible says we all have an appointed time to die.  If Jesus tarries, we all will die at some point.  The Bible is full of stories about wonderful men and women of God who have died.  Being a child of God doesn't protect us from the first death (but the way we live our life and serve the Lord does protect us from the second death).
  1. Revelation 2:11
    Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
  2. Revelation 20:6
    Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
  3. Revelation 20:14
    Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
  4. Revelation 21:8
    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.  
But this message is about after you die.  What would people say about you?  
My life isn't my own I try to live everyday for God but it made me wonder, is that what people see?  How much different would my epitath read if I wrote my own than what others would write about me?
This is just a thought, but something we should all think about...not death or dying necessarily, but what people see in us or through us while we are living.  What will people remember about us?  Do people see Jesus in me or do they just see me trying to live a good life?  Do they see me walking the walk or only talking the talk?  Will they say, "well she was a good woman and I know she believed in God", or will they say, "man, she was blessed by God, I want what she had spiritually".  That is my desire, that people see Jesus through me to the point that they want that blessing on their own life.  That not I be lifted up but that Jesus be lifted up.  My life is not my own, it belongs to Him.  I want my every waking moment to be dedicated to Him so that when I enter His presence I can hear Him say,  
Matthew 25:21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
and I can say:  
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
For those whom I leave behind, I want them to say, "she was a faithful servant, she was ready to meet the Lord, ready to share in His Kingdom and that is where "I" want to be".   My children, my grandchildren, my family and my friends, there is no greater joy than serving the Lord with your whole heart, soul, mind and body.  What you think you have to give up of this world is nothing compared to what He can give you, nothing compared to what He is preparing for you.  To some it may seem hard and there is no promise of riches and gold but it has rewards that go far beyond mere earthly treasures.  If I should die before Jesus comes I want my epitath to read:  Tawana Burgan,  A true child of God.  Loving wife, mother, grandmother, family member and friend.   She may not have been perfect, may not have always done things right but she loved with all she had and she was a faithful trusted servant of the Lord.  She loved the Lord with all her heart, mind, soul and body everyday.  I met and saw Jesus through her and what He did for her I know He can do for me.  I want that.  I want Jesus in MY life, I want a personal relationship with Him because I saw hers.  She fought a good fight, she finished the course, she kept the faith and I want to see her again in the Kingdom of God.  I want to live for Christ, I want to fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith.  
For myself, even more important than that, I live for the day to hear my Savior say, "enter in thou good and faithful servant".  Whether He calls me home or allows me to live til Jesus comes I want those who come in contact with me to see not me but Jesus in me.
Here are a few epitaths from the Bible, both good and bad.  These are given for our admonition and for our encouragment.
Dishonorable:
Rehoboam: "14And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD." (2 Chronicles 12:14)
Uzziah: "16But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God". (2 Chronicles 26:16a)
Ahab:  "25But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up."
Honorable:
Abel:  "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts:" (Hebrews 11:4a)
Enoch: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)
Abraham: And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:23)
Job:  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?  (Job 1:8)
What would your epitath read?  If it falls under the dishonorable heading and you are still drawing breath, it's not to late to change it.  If it is honorable but it's a secret, it's not to late to let the secret out.  Let others see Jesus in you, so they not only hear you talk the talk but they see you walk the walk.
God bless.