November 12, 2021


My friend, Rob Thorpe, sent me a blog he wrote on the death of his father-in-law. He was struck when the funeral director said to them, "Now what four words do you want on his grave-marker?" This particular gravestone, aside from the name and dates, only allowed four words to sum up an entire life.

In fact, Rob said, the sobering realization for him was that when you die you don’t get to decide this summation of your life—those closest to you do! How they perceive your whole life is summed up in just a few words.


Paul writes greetings to the church in Rome and gives us a quick summary of multiple friends in the closing chapter of Romans. Notice the synopsis of their lives as he speaks of them.

  • Our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea … for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.
  • Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks.
  • Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from
  • Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
  • Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
  • Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
  • Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ.
  • Greet Stachys my beloved.
  • Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ.
  • Greet Herodion, my kinsman.
  • Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.
  • Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord.
  • Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord.
  • Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.

 (Romans 16:1-13)


My mother’s tombstone carries seven words: “Jesus is all the world to me.” My siblings and I felt no words could better describe her than that line from the old hymn.

If those around you described you in a phrase, what would they say? Take a moment and prayerfully write down what you hope they would say, and then ask Christ to give you grace to fulfill that description for the glory of God.


Father, how do You want my legacy to read? Would you help me see your epitaph for me? And then, Creator and Designer, would you give me grace to live up to what You desire?

Also in Graceful Truth


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