Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015 “The Best Tombstone”

“We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint.” (Romans 5: 3-5)

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Good Morning Everyone!

I recently came across an article featuring some rather humorous epitaphs…those inscriptions left on tombstones often per the request of the deceased. Here are some of celebrities and others you may find amusing: Television talk show host Merv Griffin’s tombstone reads, “I will NOT be right back after this message.” Comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s says “There goes the neighborhood.” One family remembered their husband and father with the epitaph “HE LOVED BACON…oh, and his wife and kids, too.”  I wonder how you and I will be remembered by future generations. What would be a fitting epitaph for you or me? A lot of that depends on one particular element of our nature...character!” 

Recently, the National Football League held it’s annual draft of college students selected to play in the NFL for those teams that have evaluated their particular talents and abilities. For the most part, those selections are based on athletic ability proven on the field, speed, agility, and a particular need of the team to fill a position on offense or defense. The players selected may turn out to be a bust on the field, however for lack of a more intangible element…character. Just what is character? According to Paul, character is born of adversity and perseverance…the ability to withstands the storms of life that inevitably come. It manifests itself in a changed demeanor. Returning to the sports analogy, the character of an individual or a team is often demonstrated by their response to an adverse situation. Does the team or individual quit when the odds are stacked against them? If they are down, do they redouble their effort or double over in defeat? Paul says “Proven character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint.” As we apply this to our journey as Christians, I understand Paul to be reminding us that there will inevitably be times of trial in our lives…times when we feel persecuted, fearful, alone, heartbroken, angered, defeated. That’s when perseverance needs to surface. We press on, standing on the promises of God. Doing so produces that element of “proven character.”  So what sort of proven character has manifested itself in your life? Charles Spurgeon once preached,

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

It is my desire to be remembered as a person of strong character, for that produces hope, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Let’s pray.

God of Grace; Through those times of adversity, strengthen my character that I may have an unshakable hope and be filled with your love through the Holy Spirit. This I pray in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

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