I think I know what I want on my tombstone – if I have a tombstone.
Don’t be alarmed. I don’t have a death wish and I don’t have a terminal diagnosis, but I do know how I would like to be remembered.
Let me try to explain.
I was in high school WAAAYYY back in the day of hippies and micro-mini skirts. I had a desire to fit in and be popular like most kids my age. But I also had parents who were very firm in holding our feet to the fire of God’s Word and not bending to the current fads if they felt like those fads were “worldly.” We five King children didn’t always agree with our parent’s rules, however, no matter how many Bible verses we memorized.
Don’t get the wrong picture. We were a very happy, close family and had lots of fun growing up. What I didn’t have were micro-mini skirts, so of course what I didn’t have became what I wanted. Unfortunately…at least that’s how I saw it…mom was an excellent seamstress. That meant that we didn’t need to buy store-bought clothes, so our skirts and dresses were made to come down to our knees.
Here’s an old picture of me wearing one of those pretty outfits that Mom made, and even though you can’t see my knees, you can definitely tell that this was NOT a micro-mini skirt. 😊
I remember that on some days, when I would get to school, my first stop would be the girl’s restroom. There, I would roll up the waist of my skirt so that it would be shorter. Not micro-mini short, mind you, but at least not SOOOO long!
However, there was a problem. My mother directed all the school’s food service programs, and in that position, she would visit the school cafeterias. I knew that on any given day I might walk into the lunchroom only to find my mother there. I knew that her eyes would immediately see me wearing a skirt that was shorter than allowed. I also knew that I did not want to be found walking outside of my parent’s restrictions. I soon quit my rolled-up rebellion, deciding that it was wiser to walk in obedience than to risk punishment.
I’ve been studying through the book of Genesis in my morning quiet time. I came to chapter five and found myself in the midst of a huge family tree. You know how those Biblical family trees go. So-and-so begat so-and-so and he lived this many years and he died. But there in the middle of all those boring begats, there was a pause. The wording changed totally for the man named Enoch. Why? Because the author wanted to tell us something very important about Enoch…something that made Enoch stand out more than I stood out in my knee length skirt.
Enoch walked with God.
That’s it – but that’s everything.
In fact, Enoch walked so closely with God that we’re told in those verses that God took him up. Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch didn’t die. He just walked with God right up to heaven.
Enoch’s walk with God must have been very unusual for that day. That’s why he was mentioned in a clear way as a stand-out among the boring begats.
Noah was the same. In the very next chapter of Genesis, we’re told about how horrible the sin on earth had become. It was so bad that God regretted making man. But then we meet Noah. God showed Noah unmerited favor and Noah walked with God. There it is again…he walked with God.
We don’t know exactly how Enoch stood out in his world, but we do know that Noah must have stood out like a sore thumb…which he probably had plenty of as he hammered the boards in that HUGE ark God told him to make. Can you imagine how people made fun of Noah? Think of the names he was probably called. The earth had never seen rain, for crying out loud, but Noah is building an ark?! Yet Noah knew that obeying God was better than being popular. I’m sure it was tough on him for all those many years to be such a laughing-stock…to be so different and weird…so out of step with the world around him.
So exactly how does one walk with God?
Psalm 1 tells us how to walk with God, all of us who follow Him.
- Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. That means to not follow the advice of the wicked. Be careful about where you seek advice, no matter how alluring the lenient advice of the world may be.
- Don’t stand in the path of sinners. Sinners miss God’s mark, and they want us to do the same…to join them in their sin. The path is their manner of life. If you stand too long in the sinner’s manner of life, it’s bound to affect you.
- Don’t sit in the seat of scoffers. Scoffers are those who have no regard for God. We shouldn’t make it a habit to sit with them, to be their best friends.
Those are the negatives – the Don’ts. Now for the positives – the Do’s.
- Do delight in the law of the Lord. Make God’s Word and His instructions your chief desire in life.
- Do meditate on God’s law – His Word – day and night. Meditate means to mutter – to say it over and over. It means to respond to life with God’s Word, not the world’s word.
You know, there was another…a bigger…reason that I quit hitting the school bathroom and rolling up my skirts. I knew, yes, that to do this was to disobey my parents. But more importantly, disobedience to my parents meant that I was living in disobedience to God. And disobeying God is not a good place to be.
Life is still full of these choices for me, and for you, today. As followers of God, am I truly walking with God? Walking with God like Enoch? Like Noah?
It’s getting more and more uncomfortable to walk with God in our culture today. As believers, we don’t want to cause a scene. We don’t want to be called haters, or intolerant, or racist, or any of the other names that are being lobbed at us more and more. We don’t want to be yelled at, bullied, shunned, or to lose friends. We want harmony in our families.
But Jesus told us that these very things would happen as times go on, as the end draws near. He told us that knowing and following God would even split apart families and cause us to be hated. I’ve lost some friends due to my stands, but that’s minor compared to what may be yet to come.
There is one thing I firmly believe with all my heart, and this is it:
FOLLOWERS OF GOD TODAY CANNOT BE BOTH CULTURALLY
APPROPRIATE AND BIBLICALLY ACCURATE.
If you believe what God says about Biblical marriage, sexuality, life, the way to heaven, and a host of other topics – then you will be out of step with this culture. Being out of step with this current culture is not looked upon kindly in many arenas.
The decision to be an Enoch or a Noah today, I do believe, will come at greater and greater cost. It’s a decision, though, that must be made – whether it’s on a personal level like my skirt situation was, or on a public level in this upset world in which we live.
When it’s all over for me, and people are reading about my life, I want my testimony on my tombstone to be this:
SHE WALKED WITH GOD
It’s a tall order, but I have a great God Who promises to be with me each step!