Your Obituary Has Not Yet Been Written
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper:
“Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.”
Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph. But the account had a profound effect on Nobel. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process. So he initiated the Nobel Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace. Today he is more widely known for the Nobel Peace Prize than he is for inventing dynamite. Nobel is quoted as saying, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.”
As I read this quote, I was hit with a very arresting thought: My obituary has not yet been written. Whatever it is that men think of me, I still have the opportunity to make it better. Whatever mistakes I have made in the past, the possibility still exists for me to correct them. Whatever it is that I have yet not done, but should have, I still have time. As long as God gives me life and liberty, I can make of it something meaningful and lasting. As long as I have breath and desire, I can do my part to improve myself, my family, my neighborhood, the church, even the world.
Everyone still has the opportunity to correct his epitaph, up until the day he dies. Of course, the best thing that could ever be written in our obituary is that we were a faithful Christian. And certainly there are many wonderful things we can add to that. And if you awoke this morning and are able to read this, there’s still time to make sure that is the case.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17, ESV).
Broadway church of Christ
THE MYSTERY OF DEATH
“It is perhaps the greatest mystery which faces man. All will experience it unless our Lord returns. All have heard about it or have known someone who has experienced this thing called death.
“The term, as I will present it in this article, does not refer to man being separated from God (this is called “spiritual death,” wherein the spirit of man is separated from God throughout eternity TCT ). The term in this article is being used to indicate the separation of the spiritual man from the physical body – the result being that the physical part of man ceases to function and returns to dust. Genesis 3:19 says, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Notice the term, “returns,” for man was formed from the dust (Genesis 2:7).
“The famous twenty-third psalm tells us how the Psalmist trusted in God. The Psalmist goes on to say this journey is faced with no fear of evil. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4)
In Hebrews 9:27, we are told that death is an appointment which comes before judgment. In Job 14:1-2, we see death as departing from a brief, yet troubled life when it says, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.” He goes on to state, “. . . Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day. (Job 14:5-6)
It is wise to note that the grave is not the end. John 5:28-29 says, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” Christ came and gave us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”) WE MUST REALIZE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE THE VICTORY OVER DEATH UNLESS WE HAVE CHRIST! We don’t have Christ unless we are “in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3). We are not in Christ if we have not been baptized in Christ (Romans 6:34; Colossians 2:12).
We need to be reminded of certain things in that unseen world. We are not to fear evil but trust God. We are leaving the troubles of this life behind. We are not left in some dark chamber. We have victory through Christ if we are faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). While life is God’s gift, even death can be viewed as something to gain (Philippians 1:21). We are to realize that, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalms 116:15).
Trent McCluskey Via Forest Park Newsletter April 15 1987