“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;” (Acts 13:36 NKJV).

Epitaphs. They’ve been around for quite a long time, but it was during the latter part of the European Renaissance, the 15th and 16th centuries, that epitaphs became popular. Michelangelo finished a statue in 1504 depicting the Hebrew prophet-prodigy-king David as a muscular Greek athlete. This was evidence of the mental and social paradigm shift that had taken place as culture exchanged the Middle Ages for the promising modern age that was on the horizon.

I don’t know how athletic or robust David might have been. I don’t know if he ever competed at any level in sporting events. Neither did Michelangelo. The statue communicated a message that supported and agreed with the cultural winds that were blowing. Never mind that the message they wanted to send was historically false. They were trying to develop their own truth. Similar winds are blowing across our land today.

I remember a line from a movie a few years ago called “The Shooter” where Ned Beaty played a U.S. Senator.

He made the statement: “The truth is what I say it is.”

Nothing could be more false.

The truth may not always be obvious, but truth found in scripture is always accurate. Today’s verse gives us an epitaph of David that is not only accurate, it is an epitaph that God desires for each of us to have when our earthly life comes to an end. Did you catch it? Just in case you didn’t, here it is again.

“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers,”

Of course we still learn many things about ourselves and about God from David’s life, but the Bible states that “he served his own generation by the will of God.”

I have to ask myself, “Am I serving my own generation like God wants me to?”

Thats a question for all of us. Are we making a difference in our own little world? When it’s all over for me on this earth, will my life have served to advance God’s kingdom in any way? Will anyone be in heaven as a result of following in my footsteps? Has anyone had their load lightened because I, in some way, helped them carry their burden?

We tend to be a generation that lives for the here and now when it comes to pleasure, but we seem to procrastinate far too often when it comes to laying up treasure in heaven. God wants us to do things, and we have good intentions, but often we are finding reasons to do God’s will tomorrow instead of today.

I really believe that if I live a normal lifespan and reach a ripe old age, that I may be in the generation that avoids the grave and goes by rapture. Either way, my opportunity to serve my own generation will come to an end within two or three decades at most now. More than five decades have come and gone. Whatever I’m going to do, I feel an urgency to get it done.

Let’s break it down exegetically, word by word … David. Served. His. Own. Generation. By. The will. Of God.

It wasn’t engraved on a monument, but it was his epitaph. What will your epitaph be? We can’t control what others might say about us, but when it comes to being kingdom focused or not, we get the last word!

Dr. Dennis Cagle is the founder of Xaltm LLC who has been a pastor for 36 years and currently works as a church consultant. He is a former resident of McMinn County and current resident of Tellico Plains. He can be contacted at xaltm@yahoo.com

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Dr. Dennis Cagle is the founder of Xaltm LLC who has been a pastor for 36 years and currently works as a church consultant. He is a former resident of McMinn County and current resident of Tellico Plains. He can be contacted at xaltm@yahoo.com

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