The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot.
Who has been a blessing to you? What name (s) comes to mind? Possibly your parents, a close family member or friend, a sibling, or your spouse. But have you considered your epitaph? What will they say about your when you’re gone?
In my role as pastor, I often sat with the bereaved soon after losing loved ones. In those times, much was said about the character and behavior of the deceased. Favorite memories were shared on the positive qualities of the dearly departed.
I recall an occasion at a viewing (wake) for a church member when there was more laughing than crying. That’s because the elderly man who had died brought so much joy and laughter to his family and friends. It became so raucous that his sister whistled loudly and called them down. Then she realized that silence was an inappropriate remembrance of a man who had a knack for making people laugh. The sister shed a few tears and then burst out laughing as she recalled something he had done. The crowd went back to honoring the man who had often blessed them by lifting their spirits.
Once I was called upon by a member of the community to preside over a funeral for his son, a member of a biker gang. He apologized in advance for the unknown circumstances I might encounter. And yes, his friends arrived on bikes. It was the only time I witnessed a rowdy crowd at a viewing or a beer party in the parking lot. But the next day at the funeral they were stoic and quiet as if at a loss for words. After the service, they followed the procession to the cemetery on their motorcycles. When the graveside ceremony concluded they stayed and watched as the casket was lowered into the ground and covered with dirt. They sat there for the longest, silently staring at the grave. Obviously, their friend had impacted their lives.
It’s not just church-going folks who have fond memories of their deceased friends. And you don’t have to be a Christian to be a blessing to someone. However, a closer look at our focus text reveals how we should aspire to bless others. “The name of the righteous is used in blessings…” (Proverbs 10:7a)
To be a blessing, in a general sense, is to make a person happy or content. Anybody can do that. But the blessing God desires from His people is rooted in righteousness. More specifically, for the Christian it means to be set apart unto the Lord for His good purposes. We live to honor Him and thus become a blessing to others.
What will they say about you when you’re gone?” You have control over the answer to the question by the way you live your life and touch others. Righteous living produces a positive report that honors God.
Notice what our focus verse says about those who embrace a wicked lifestyle. “…the name of the wicked will rot.” Not a flattering picture of the outcome of one’s life.
My wife and I recently had a discussion about how it seems that a good name is no longer desirable as it once was. The emphasis is no longer on BUILDING character, but on BEING a character. Our culture honors the deeds of the wicked and deplores the actions of righteousness.
Back to the question, “What will they say about you when you’re gone?”
If you’re like me, you hope they’ll say good things when you’re gone. But more important is what the Lord has to say. Matthew 25:23 comes to mind. “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s happiness!”
More important than pleasing man is pleasing God. And the first step toward gaining His good pleasure is accepting the gift of His Son as your Savior. Without that, all the accolades of man will, as our focus text says, “rot.”
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11
For more on this topic, check out this article: When Distance Separates Your From Those You Love
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.