Living Life Backwards
"The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing."1
When I was fresh out of college and was filling the pulpit at a small church, I was asked to conduct a funeral—something I'd never done before and was scared "half to death" about doing it. So I can appreciate how Ben, a new pastor, felt when one of his first duties was to conduct a funeral of an 80-year-old parishioner.
Because Ben had never met the deceased man and knew nothing about him, he asked members of the congregation in attendance at the funeral if they would speak a kind word or two about Ben. Silence. Nobody said a word.
So Ben said, "Many of you knew Albert for a long time. Isn't there someone who can say something nice?"
After a long pause a voice from the back of the room said, "Well, his brother was worse."1
Hmmm … not a very nice way to be remembered.
Have you ever given any thought as to what you would like to be said about you at your funeral, or be written on your tombstone? I'd like to think that one thing said about me would be: "He was real and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ."
Why not give this question some serious thought yourself. If you should die tomorrow, what would you like to be said about you? Would it be gratifying or would it be disappointing?
As Michael Josephson said, "There's an old saying: 'If you want to know how to live your life, think about what you'd like people to say about you after you die—and live backwards.'"2 In other words make sure you are living today in harmony with what you want said about you when you are gone. The same goes for me.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live that I will not only feel gratified at what is said about me when I'm gone, but more importantly, so that I will be pleased what you say to me when I meet you face to face—and what a glorious day that will be. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV).
2. Adapted from Character Counts by Michael Josephson, www.charactercounts.org.