Today’s Challenges: What do you want on your tombstone?


It is in my nature to be political, perhaps like some of you. I am interested in what goes on in our country and how those in power govern us.

I believe that we have been granted the right to express our views and make our concerns known to our political leaders and others. We may not always agree with one another in our views, but that makes them no less important, yet should never be dividing as Christians today.

Do you remember the old television commercial, (advertising Tombstone pizza), which ask: “What do you want on your tombstone?”

Let me share a story with you about a farmer, born in Kentucky, and raised in Indiana that eventually settled in Kansas. Nathaniel Grigsby, who died in 1890, was an officer in the Civil War and a Republican through and through. He was also a friend and schoolmate of Abraham Lincoln while in Indiana. After the war around 1885, Grigsby returned to Kansas at the age of 74 and started farming. Before he passed, he made his family promise to bury him in the cemetery near Attica, Kansas. He also was specific about what his tombstone was to proclaim. Here is the inscription he dictated.

“Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party. Therefore beware of this party of treason. (Put on this tombstone in fulfillment of promise to Deceased).”

You can agree or disagree with mister Grigsby, but the question we need to ask ourselves is: What will be on your tombstone? I’ve seen a lot of tombstones in my life that proclaim a lot of things. Things like “Loving wife and mother,” or “Beloved Father,” “Rest in Peace” and such sayings. One of the most interesting tombstone messages I have seen said, “Don’t laugh, you’re next.”

God showed us what is really important in Ephesians 1:20-23 where He said: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

Yes, my political views are important to me, but not nearly as important as my Spiritual views because I know who is really in charge of our world. We celebrate once again America’s Independence Day, but isn’t our independence from sin and death much more important? I often struggle to “keep my mouth shut” regarding my political views and it is sometimes difficult. I try and respect the views of others, whether I agree with them or not. My goal is to have the message on my tombstone to simply declare me “A Christian,” because in the end it doesn’t really matter what your political views are; it matters how God seems the message of your life. What do you want on your tombstone?

By Russ Lawson

Today’s Challenges

Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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