While traveling through Europe the summer after my high school graduation I made an interesting observation about many of the ancient cathedrals–their walls were often adorned with the likenesses of human skulls. Although a Pirates of the Caribbean skull-laden decor is the last look I would want in my own church, I think the architects of those early sanctuaries were on to something: when we live our lives from the grave looking back we live lives of greater significance and impact.
There’s no question that a recognition of our mortality can inspire a determination to live our remaining days well. And personally I find that to be one of the sobering blessings of being a pastor. Whenever I’m preparing thoughts to share with the friends and family members of departed loved ones, I find myself wondering what people will say about me. And inevitably I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous words: “I am not afraid of what history will say about me, for I intend to write it.”
I want to do the same–I want my life to be a living script that my loved ones can recite at my memorial service.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “Death is the destiny of every man and the living should take it to heart.” Let’s take those ancient words to heart, and then go out and live, laugh, and love in a way that honors God and serves the world around us.