Which Way Are You Going?

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Cemeteries are not places where anyone likes to spend a lot of time for obvious reasons. For the most part our trips there are usually under somber circumstances. Maybe that is why some folks have decided to put messages on their tombstones that would give a different slant.

Most epitaphs on a headstone are pretty serious and read something like: “Rest In Peace” or “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.” But then there are the others. There is one in Georgia that states: “I Told You I Was Sick!” Another one in New Mexico reads: “Here lies Johnny Yeast - Pardon me for not rising.”

My all-time favorite is said to grace a memorial stone in England with the message: “Remember me, as you walk by; As you are now, so once was I; As I am now, so shall you be; Remember this and follow me.” Sometime after the stone was placed someone etched under that message the words: “To follow you, I’ll not be consent; Until I know which way you went.”

Maybe I am a little warped, but I find that one pretty funny. At the same time, I believe both messages on that stone are worthy of our attention. The first puts us in touch with our own mortality and the second puts us in touch with reality. To explain, the first message points out that death is the way we all will leave this earth. The Bible teaches, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Thus, death is certain for us all.

Regarding the second message- - the life we live while here not only determines where we go when we die; it also can be an influence on others in the way they live. Paul had great confidence in his life’s direction because of the One after whom he patterned his life. He knew that following Jesus would lead to the rewards of heaven and wanted others to know that they could receive the same. Thus he wrote near his life’s end, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, but not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Without question, we know “which way” Paul went. The questions we need to ask ourselves are: “Which way are we going?” And, “Which way are we leading others?”