Summary: We look at some of the ways Saul played the fool so we can learn how NOT to go the direction Saul went.

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The Ways of a Fool

1 Samuel 31

Like most of you, I have spent time walking in the cemetery. I like to look at the gravestones and their dates. I like to imagine what these people were like and how they lived a hundred or more years ago. What did they do for a living? Where in town did they live? Where did they go to church? Does anyone in Independence remember who they were or claim them as their ancestors? Then I go a bit further. I wonder: Are there people alive today who are serving the Lord because this person, a hundred years ago or more, led someone to the Lord who led someone else to the Lord who led them to the Lord? Do these people have spiritual grandchildren who can thank them for their influence, or did they live only for themselves so that when their children died, if they had any, the memory of their time on earth vanished with their coffin?

This, of course, leads me to ask the same questions about myself. In a hundred years, will anyone recognize my name? Will there be a great-great grandchild who will claim me as their Papa and say, “Because of that man’s faith I now have a relationship with Jesus”? When my life is over, will there be more people who are glad they knew me than there are people who are glad I am no longer a thorn in their flesh?

The good news is that my legacy, what people say about me and what they remember me for, is completely up to me. If I want to be remembered as a kind and patient man, a man who loved people and listened to their concerns, who was more interested in having money to give away than in accumulating nice cars, who relished teaching the Word and watching people grow in God and who wanted to see the Kingdom of God grow and took time to invest in that Kingdom, then that is completely up to me. How I want to be remembered is my choice.

And it is your choice, also. How you are remembered is completely up to you. Now, I’ve asked you this before, but if you could write your own epitaph (Latin: epi, over and taphos, tomb); if you were given the choice of writing what you’d like written on your tombstone, what would you want it to say? How would you want to be remembered? Some people take this idea seriously, and some people do not.

Winston Churchill knew he would not always be remembered well, for he would often clash with people because of his sharp tongue and caustic wit. When Churchill died in January 1965, he conceded that he might not be so easy to get along with it—especially for all eternity. Thinking a bit too highly of himself, Churchill has this written on his tombstone: “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

I’ve shared this with you before, but why one of my favorites is what Benjamin Franklin wanted written on his tomb. Confiding in his diary, a young Franklin chose these words to be remembered by.

The Body of B. Franklin, Printer; like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms.

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