I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial spoof. The guy is tied to the stake and the firing squad is about to pull the trigger. The executioner comes with a last request. “What do you want on your tombstone?” The fellow thinks for a minute and says, “Pepperoni.” Out come the pizzas and the Tombstone Pizza company makes another dollar.
Don’t miss the point in the pun. What do you want on your tombstone? They used write little epitaphs that defined the person’s life. They weren’t always flattering.
The grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia reads:
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
Not the sort of thing you want on your tombstone!
Several years ago I was doing a funeral in an old cemetery on the outskirts of Cottondale, Texas. The funeral director came up to me afterwards and said, “Have you ever heard of Machine-gun Kelly?”
“Vaguely,” I said, “Wasn’t he a mobster back in the 30’s or so?”
“Yep,” my friend in the black suit continued, “and he’s buried right over there.”
I said, “Show me.”
We walked over among some old broken tombstones and there in the ground was a plain concrete marker. It was about eighteen inches long by twelve inches wide with two words stamped in the wet cement: George Kelly.
That’s it. No date of birth. No date of death. The rudeness of the marker seemed to say, “Glad he’s gone.”
What do you want on your tombstone? What do you want them to say about you? Even more important what do you want God to say?
Listen to Paul’s confidence in 2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Live with the right priorities and you can be confident about your eulogy.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.