Epitaphs often make stimulating reading—and challenging writing. How would you begin to summarize in a sentence, for example, the life of King David? Would you herald his conquests and bravery in battle? Ought you to report his deep repentance and intimate walk with God? Should you spend your single sentence to tell of David’s hearty piety, cultivated as it was in nature’s nursery, then honed by daily dependence on the Almighty?

I am fascinated by the way the apostle Paul encapsulated David’s greatness. This man after God’s own heart, said the apostle in his synagogue sermon at Pisidian Antioch, “served his own generation by the will of God, and fell asleep” (Acts 13:36). A mere dozen words, yet they convey one of the highest verbal laurels awarded any person in all of Scripture. They also disclose one key to David’s greatness: he made good use of that priceless treasure called “today.” Today. It is, after all, the only day we ever have. It is our handle on eternity, an elusive and invisible bit of time of whose species our whole lifetimes consist. It is all God holds us accountable for. Very shortly it will be gone, recalled by its Maker and sealed for his final reckoning, not to be repeated or altered forever. That is the ever-timely significance of David’s epitaph spoken at Antioch. Its message still rings true and clear, amid the competitive din of so much clamor and clatter. Ours is no day of still, small voices. The person who inhabits today has many neighbors. David names three groups of them in the first Psalm.

First are the scoffers, the outright rebellious, those who flagrantly challenge all that is right and true. They are few in number, but they ...

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