Early one morning, while visiting family in a small town in central Pennsylvania, I decided to take their dog for a walk through an old cemetery near their home. As we meandered from tombstone to tombstone, I discovered something: while each grave stone had different information on it, there was one thing that was the same on every one of them - the little dash between the dates of birth and death. It occurred to me that this dash represented the whole life of each individual buried there. Our names and birth dates are established facts, and can be recorded on a tombstone even before we die. I saw one of these in the cemetery where we walked that morning – a stone waiting for a body to be buried there, and the death date to be chiseled in.
Every day, each of us is adding a little more meaning to the dash that represents our life. If we care only for ourselves, we’ll be quickly forgotten. Our good works may get some people to remember us for a while. But if our good works are done for Christ, their value is recorded forever in heaven (1 Cor. 3:14).
What will your dash say to those who knew you? When people look at your tombstone will they say, “He served the Lord,” or “She introduced me to the Savior,” or “His love of Christ was evident in everything he did”? Or will they say, “He only cared about himself or herself.”
The well-known saying below is attributed to the Scottish missionary to Africa, David Livingstone (1813-1873). What does it say about his “dash”?
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org