One Phrase to Represent Your Life (Alma 45)
In Alma 45, there is a change in church leadership, as Alma passes this responsibility to his son Helaman. Helaman also is given responsibility for maintaining the Nephite record at this point — this chapter is the first written by Helaman. After Alma turns over the sacred records to his son, he somewhat mysteriously departs from the land of Zarahemla and is never heard from again. The people surmise that he may have been "buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses" (verse 19), as recorded in Deuteronomy 34:5-6, or even taken up by the Lord. Regardless, Alma's time on earth has ended and a new era has begun. Helaman makes one statement that describes the life of Alma: "He was a righteous man."
When the time comes for us to depart from this life, wouldn't it be wonderful if the one phrase that someone chose to represent our life would be, "This was a righteous person"?
Based on your life so far, what phrase would best represent your life? What would you like it to be? Some people have such phrases (known as epitaphs) printed on their tombstones. What phrase would you want to have permanently displayed with your name for all to see?
Is there a phrase that summarizes how you lived your life? Is your identity tied to your natural profession? Perhaps you would choose to be remembered as a wonderful mother, father, husband, wife, etc. Here are some examples of these from actual tombstones:
- Died Oct 27, 1881 — She lived each day as if it were her last, especially this one
- Sir John Strange — Here lies an honest lawyer, And that is Strange
- He was a good husband, a wonderful father, but a bad electrician
Aside from the humorous twists, these are all nice tributes. If any of us are remembered this way, that would be wonderful. However, what a blessing it would be to be remembered as a servant of God. If there was one phrase to represent your life, would it include God? It doesn't have to be put on your tombstone, but let's live our lives in such a way that will make people remember us as servants of God.
Here's a little quiz for you. In the table below, there are 10 epitaphs from actual tombstones. See if you can match each to the appropriate name in the column on the right — most of these names were celebrities in years past. Apologies to our younger readers who may not recognize these names — the celebrities you are familiar with are mostly still alive!
|1. That's All Folks||A. Will Rogers|
|2. There Goes the Neighborhood||B. Jackie Gleason|
|3. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free at Last.||C. Merv Griffin|
|4. All dressed up and no place to go||D. W. C. Fields|
|5. I will not be right back after this message||E. Mel Blanc|
|6. Pardon me for not rising||F. Dean Martin|
|7. And away we go||G. Rodney Dangerfield|
|8. I never met a man I didn't like||H. John Yeast|
|9. Everybody loves somebody sometime||I. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|10. I would rather be in Philadelphia||J. Unnamed Atheist|
Answers: 1-E, 2-G, 3-I, 4-J, 5-C, 6-H, 7-B, 8-A, 9-F, 10-D
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.