The old joke is that you know the day is off to a good start if you check the morning paper and your obituary is not in it.
But what if it was? What would it say? Would it say what you imagine? Once you’re gone and can’t argue about it, how would others sums up your life?
One morning in 1888, a man named Alfred Nobel found out.
The famous and wealthy inventor of dynamite awoke to read his own obituary in the paper.
Actually, Alfred’s brother had died. But the reporter messed up and wrote an obituary on Alfred.
It was, no doubt, shocking. But in a way, it was a unique gift for Alfred Nobel – to see how the world really viewed him.
Nobel was written up as “The Dynamite King,” the great industrialist who made a fortune in explosives. As far as the public was concerned, this was the entire sum of Nobel’s life – a merchant of death. His ideas about peace and helping humanity were nowhere mentioned in the obituary.
The horror of reading his own obituary – how other people really saw him – moved Nobel to bequeath his immense fortune for the establishment of the “Nobel Peace Prize” and the other “Nobel Prizes” in various areas – to make clear to the world his true intentions.
What would your obituary – or mine – say if it were written today? That you were the greatest guy or gal who ever drew a breath? That you loved the Packers? That everyone loved your cookies?
What if God Himself were writing the obituary? His view is the only one that counts. Would it say: “Lively performance. Interesting plot. But you missed the point!” Without Christ? Pointless.
In today’s text from Acts, Paul stands before Governor Felix. He seeks to persuade him of how late in the game it really is:
“As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’ ” In other words, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.”
Putting God off at the door like a bothersome salesman is always risky business. Eternity is only a heartbeat away. Repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is still the only way to be ready.
We can’t read our own obituary. But we can begin rewriting it – today.
We may not have tomorrow.