Every now and then I think about what I want written on a tombstone, if I’m privileged to get one someday. I’m morbid nor am I expecting to get a block of stone over my hea anytime soon. It’s not my death I think about when the image of a tombstone is set before me. Rather, I think about my life. How will I have lived? How do I want to be perceived by others? What do I want those who knew me to think of me? What difference do I want to have made?
Some of the tombstone slogans I’ve come up with in the past include these (There is a running theme in some- sorry about that, but it’s probably what will bring me down some day):
- His bowels were a stinker and his mind was a thinker. His brain exploded and his body eroded.
- Too much gas made Ken’s tummy grow big. Now for six feet we had to dig.
- He lived once.
- Stick a fork in me.
- Made it to the end without screwing it all up.
- He loved Jesus and his wife. Too bad his bowels ended his life!
- Ken Castor lies here. Show respect. Don’t pee on him.
Other tombstone slogans of mine include these more serious tries:
- A Follower of Jesus.
- Lived all out for God.
- Embraced in Christ’s peace. Rooted in Christ’s love.
- A man who loved Jesus and made him known.
All those are okay. But I think I may have a new one, albeit a bit long. As a Christian, Barnabas has for many years been a hero of mine. His name means "encouragement" and it fits his character well. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the entire New Testament being written… though he never gets the credit. He discipled the amateur-murderer Paul, he discipled the missionary-quitter Mark. He helped Peter grow up. He shared stories with Luke. He instructed the Apostles. Barnabas was an amazing Jesus follower. And in Acts 11:24, Barnabas supplies me with a great epitaph for my life:
"He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord."
So my epitaph goal is threefold: 1) to be a good man. Not a bad goal considering the type of world we live in and the type of sins many pastors are getting into these days. I want to be different than bad. 2) to be full of the Holy Spirit and faith. That’s not completely up to me, I know. But my heart can cry out to God for his fullness! And why wouldn’t God want to fill me with himself? 3) to ask God that a great number of people would be brought to him. Whether directly or indirectly through me, I want to be associated with multitudes of people being introduced to Jesus Christ and developing relationship with him. Barnabas did that over and over again. So should I. Let’s try this on one the tombstone:
"Ken Castor was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord."
May God make it so. Amen.