People are often remembered by remarkable discoveries, critical innovations, or monumental achievements because of their impact on human history and society. Those accomplishments are typically summarized in a person’s epitaph. For example, the epitaph of Thomas Jefferson reads:
HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON, AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.
If we were asked to pen an epitaph for David in the Bible, what might we include? Perhaps descriptions such as “Victor over Goliath,” “Mighty king of Israel,” or “Subduer of the Philistines.” Indeed, David had many feats and titles of worldly renown. The author of 2 Samuel, however, before recording David’s final words, decided to describe him very differently.
Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
Broadly speaking, the first three descriptions summarize the stages of David’s life. The last, however, describes what David did—not as a warrior in his youth or as a king in his adulthood, but as a psalmist throughout all his days. Despite all his marvelous accomplishments, the Bible remembers David for the things people more easily overlook—his words of thanksgiving, praise, and glory to God.
Day to day, we may study diligently and work tirelessly in the hope that at the end of our lives we can be remembered by some small but lasting contribution to the world. Yet let us not forget that the recognition of men will pass away with the world, but the recognition of God will endure. The heart that we pour into our servitude may be long forgotten by people, but it will be forever remembered by God.
May we be remembered less for our worldly merits, and more for our life-long service to God.
Questions for Reflection
1. How will we be remembered? Do we desire to be remembered by man for our degrees and titles, or by God for our offerings to Him?
2. What can we offer to gain the recognition of God?