By Stephen Leonard
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him or for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:15-20
There are many varieties of epitaphs on tombstones throughout the cemeteries of the world. Some are clever. Some are meaningful. Most are just a name with dates of life with a few one or two-word descriptors of what roles you lived: wife or husband, father or mother, son or daughter etc. They obviously are brief, because there is not a lot of room on gravestones. What do you want your own epitaph to read?
Symbols inscribed on your grave marker could be a Cross, a Star of David, tablets of Ten Commandments, Star and Crescent, etc. The great majority of American tombstones are inscribed with a Cross, whether they represent the grave of an earnest Christian or not.
Yet what is it that most sums up your whole life, your very existence, your purpose for living, the reason you are? Is an epitaph enough that you were a son, husband, father? Maybe so. It is more important that you were those, than a doctor, plumber, or carpenter. But considering who Jesus Christ is in the passage above, what is this person, this all-powerful and glorious being, this all in all Savior and God—who is He to you?
Seeing how great and almighty this One is, do you not think that if He knows you, is related to you, has a reason to be close to you, is loved by you, and loves you with an infinite love, that he would be most important in explaining who you are and what you are all about? Would He not be the pinnacle of your life?
We all, if we truly know this One, cannot ever discount His relationship with us. There is no one that knows you better, or is so responsible for your very being, and for your future through all eternity than this One.
Would not your epitaph read something like this: I am a child of the King. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is my all in all. I will serve and love Him throughout eternity.
For if Jesus is all that Colossians claims Him to be, and what is more that He knows me intimately, and I know and claim Him as my very own Savior and Lord, what is greater than who Jesus is to me? And I am to Him?
This is not only your most noteworthy epitaph. It is the reason you get up every morning. Jesus sums up your whole reason for living and being. Let your world know who this Jesus is to you.
“Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall. When I am sad to Him I go, no other One can cheer me so; when I am sad He makes me glad, He’s my friend.”
(1st verse of Will Thompson’s hymn, “Jesus Is All the World to Me,” 1904)