Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My Obituary?

Dear Friends,

Have you given any thought to your obituary? I don’t mean to bring up a depressing subject, but you all know that you’re not getting off this planet alive. Right? Last week I was reading newspaper obituaries which is something that I normally never do. What struck me was how a lifetime of our priorities and passions are so neatly and concisely stated in a few words that summarize our earthly existence. Academic degrees attained, military service, careers, children raised, memberships, golfing and bowling accomplishments, service awards. Some written with tedious details that sound as if written by a public relations company and some written by family members who convey their love and sadness in the memories of their loved ones. But nearly all sum up the person’s life with a list of what they’ve done. It’s a “life resume” of their most important achievements. But all stand before Jesus someday and He will not be interested in our military record, golf trophies or our career promotions. Even our “church activities” are of no importance. We are known by others for what we’ve done. We are known by God for who we’ve become.

As I thought about my own obituary, I’d like to have it sound like Marian Jean Kalionzes’ who died at the age of 91 on March 7th. “She knew the assurance of her salvation through Jesus Christ and spoke with conviction of the life awaiting her in Heaven. Her faith never shaken, she encouraged the many who loved her up to the finish...”

A friend was reflecting on this time of Lent and how they wished to be remembered when they have left this planet. They were thinking about what they needed to do and change about themselves now in order to accomplish their desire to be thought well of by others. 

Lent is a season of self-reflection and repentance. The Biblical definition of REPENTANCE means to be remorseful and contrite over our sinful behavior and then have a change of mind about our behavior that results in a change of our actions. Acts 26:20 If giving up something for Lent is no more than a obligatory church tradition, we can proudly fast for 40 days on chocolate ice cream to accrue religious “Brownie points,” but then we come out of Lent looking the same way we did as when we entered the season. God requires more.

At some point in time, the clock will stop for us. Our body will be done. And who we are at that moment, will be how our loved ones will remember us. I don’t want to have the words “Cranky Old Codger” chiseled on my tombstone. 

Some might say that I need to work on my personal “brand.” Personal branding is what young professionals do to invent and establish an image or impression of themselves in the minds of others. Your online and social media image may not be true to your authentic self but is a tightly managed group of online assets that package and promote how you want to be perceived. 

Today there are many books and resources on how to recreate and market a professional image, but our spiritual image was established at the moment of our birth. We were created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 Of course we don’t physically resemble God because He is Spirit John 4:24 but we were created to reflect God’s character and attributes. Obviously not His divine attributes such as His sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. God and God alone is the Supreme Authority, all-knowing, all-powerful and present in all places and at all times. 

But we were created in His image to reflect His character and, as Spirit-filled Christians, we should be looking less like us and more like Jesus every day of our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23 NLT, Paul lists the “fruit” of the Spirit. In the Greek, the word translated as “fruit” is singular meaning that the one single characteristic of a Christian is all of these nine attributes combined: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. These are the Christ-like attributes that identify the true follower of Jesus, but of course while we were created in His image, we can choose to reject that image.   

Is the image you project to others a man/woman of God or a man/woman of the world? When your earthly body dies, what will your obituary say? How do you want to be remembered by your loved ones? Are there attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit that are weak or missing from your life? Are you okay with the idea of coming out of another Lent unchanged? If not, what would God want you to change about yourself?


  1. Thank you Pastor John. This is great!