Elizabeth Taylor & the Past Tense Verb

I was interested to read the stories in the newspapers recently about the death of the famous movie star, Elizabeth Taylor. She reportedly said that she wanted two words on her tombstone: “She Lived.”

She was bragging that she had lived life to the fullest, had packed all she could into her 79 years.

But I was stuck by the tense of the verb. In thinking of her death, she could only imagine describing herself in the past tense. It wasn’t “She Lives!” or “She Shall Live!” But “She Lived!” — as in “Now It’s All Over.”

I don’t want that on my tombstone.

Jesus said in John 11: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” He said that God is not a God of the dead but of the living.

Evangelist D. L. Moody once told the crowds listening to him: “Someday you will read in the papers the D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.”

I’m with Moody!

–Excerpted from Sunday’s sermon at The Donelson Fellowship. For a manuscript of the entire message, “It’s a Great Day to See A Ghost,” go to TDF’s sermon page.