Summary: As we travel that road we write across the pages of our lives the epitaphs that one day will summarize our character and the legacy by which we will be remembered. What impact will your life have?
HE DIED … NO ONE CARED
INTRODUCTION: Should the Lord tarry His return, every one of us will keep an appointment with death. From the very moment we are born we begin traveling the road to that appointed time. As we travel that road we write across the pages of our lives the epitaphs that one day will summarize our character and the legacy by which we will be remembered. It is rare for a person not to want to be fondly remembered by those that are left behind. Memorializing his wife one man placed the following epitaph on her tombstone: "Here Lies Janie Smith, wife of Thomas Smith, marble cutter. This monument was erected as a tribute to her memory and as a specimen of his work. Monuments of the same style 350 dollars." (- copied) 2 Chronicles 21 relates to us the death of King Jehoram, who when he died …no one cared.
I. A Sorrowful Epitaph - "He …departed without being wanted" – ("Amplified")
A. When a Christian dies usually there are mixed emotions. We rejoice that the individual had a relationship with Christ and is with the Lord. But we are saddened by the gaps that have been created in the home, in family, in the church, and in the community.
B. Proverbs 10:7a "The memory of the just is blessed…."
C. When a good person dies who does not know Christ, we are saddened. We are saddened by the fact that he or she has gone into a Christless eternity. We are saddened by the gap that the individual has left in our lives. And even in most circumstances, when a wicked person dies we tend to be merciful in our mind-set, overlooking any offences he or she may have committed and exaggerate their service and virtue. We accentuate their positive attributes and minimize their negative qualities.
D. But when Jehoram died no one cared.
E. 2 Chronicles 21:18-20 (CEV) "… The LORD struck Jehoram with an incurable stomach disease. About two years later, Jehoram died in terrible pain. No bonfire was built to honor him, even though the people had done this for his ancestors. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he ruled eight years from Jerusalem. He died, and NO ONE EVEN FELT SAD. He was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs."
F. The King James says he "departed without being desired." Literally, "He departed without any feeling of loss".
G. Howard Hughes: Worth 2.5 billion dollars at his death, he was the richest man in the United States. He owned a private fleet of jets, hotels and casinos. When asked to claim his body, his nearest relative, a distant cousin, exclaimed, "Is this Mr. Hughes?" He had spent the last 15 years of his life a drug addict, too weak in the end to even administer the shots to himself. His 6’4" frame had shrunk to 6’1" and he weighed only 90 lbs. Not a single acquaintance or relative mourned his death. The only honor he received was a moment of silence in his Las Vegas casinos. Time magazine put it this way: "Howard Hughes’ death was commemorated in Las Vegas by a minute of silence. Casinos fell silent. Housewives stood uncomfortable clutching their paper cups full of coins at the slot machines, the blackjack games paused, and at the crap tables the stickmen cradled the dice in the crook of their wooden wands. Then a pit boss looked at his watch, leaned forward and whispered, "O.K., roll the dice. He’s had his minute." – Time, December 13, 1976.