Sir Christopher Wren was one of the most famous architects in history. Following London’s Great Fire of 1666, he rebuilt fifty-five churches in the city. His masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral, was completed in 1710. When he died in 1723 he was laid to rest in a crypt in St. Paul’s. A plain stone plaque is inscribed:
LECTOR, SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS, CIRCUMSPICE
Translated from Latin it means, “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around.”
What kind of monuments will we leave for future generations?
T.S. Eliot wryly observed, “And the wind shall say: ‘Here were decent godless people: Their only monument the asphalt road, and a thousand lost golf balls.’” The man who lives for himself can’t expect much more than that.
The same cannot be said about the person who lives for God. Scripture and our own experience teach that there are many impressive monuments we can leave behind for those who come after us:
The father who sets a godly example for his family and provides the spiritual leadership they need.
The mother who loves her children and teaches them of the God who loves them.
The husband and wife whose love for each other models what marriage is all about.
The Bible school teacher who encourages love for God by sharing His word.
The veteran Christian who faithfully attends worship even with the aches and pains of age.
The college student who drinks deeply of scientific knowledge and grows in appreciation for the Creator who made the universe.
The single who exercises discipline and self-control in the face of myriad temptations.
The disciple who shares Jesus with others and makes new disciples.
The deacon who quietly lives up to his calling by serving others.
The elder who shoulders great responsibility by caring for people’s souls.
The unsung, under appreciated Christian who prays, works and gives so that the church can march forward.
“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example,” writes Benjamin Disraeli. While most of us won’t leave massive buildings or millions of dollars bearing our name, we can leave the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. We do this by loving God and loving our fellow man.
Si monumentum requiris circumspice
What kind of monument are you building?
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