Saturday, May 22, 2010

Writing Our Own Obituary

Ninety-four-year-old Paul Schlegelmilch of Long Island, New York could not believe his eyes and exclaimed “This can’t be!” when he opened The Rockville Herald and saw his own obituary! Supposedly, the local newspaper would feature him in a story about the Memorial Day parade. (Schlegelmilch, a World War II veteran, will be the grand marshal for that major event.) But when the newspaper got his photo along with his short biography, it somehow landed in the obituary section instead! So, after checking his heartbeat to confirm if he was really indeed alive, Schlegelmilch floored the accelerator of his ‘91 Buick to rush to the Maple Pointe Assisted Living Facility to inform Evelyn, his 91-year-old sister, not to believe everything she reads on the newspaper. But he knew he could not really reach his 5 daughters, 14 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren just before they sat down to read the news. Thankfully, the newspaper apologized with a “He’s Alive” headline through its online edition. Still, understandably, Schlegelmich was not that thrilled with the obituary. (Source: http://wcbstv.com/)

When I read the news, a thought crossed my mind, “At least, he already knew while he was still alive what people would say about him when he dies.” What comments about us would we read if ever we got to see our obituary? Morbid as it is, I think the best way to deal with that is to write our own obituary. The Apostle Paul wrote his own obituary before he was beheaded for his faith: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV) Personally, I want people to remember me for being a catalyst who brought out the best in my spheres of influence; specifically, my family and the segment of the Body of Christ that God opened a door of ministry to me. I admit I am not yet there. But that compels me to press on. There’s actually an exercise in leadership seminars where participants are asked to do just that—write their obituary. Then the clincher, “What are you doing right now to ensure that that would be your obituary?” For whatever we write in our obituary we must back it up with our lives. Paul did fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. No matter what glowing terms we use to write about ourselves, people will ultimately remember us for who we really are and not for what we write about ourselves.

Brethren, if ever, what would our obituary say?

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