I've heard a lot of people talk about how they want this or that on their tombstone. I've also been told a couple times right before I did something really dumb, "That would look really stupid on your gravestone." But you wanna know something interesting?
You can trick all the people on earth into thinking you're a better person than you are. And you know the scary truth. You can have the most beautiful epitaph on earth and still stand before God's throne ashamed. So don't live your life for what men will put on your gravestone. Live your life for what God will tell you some day when you stand before His throne.
Think about it. I have no doubt the apostles were called idiots during their lives for doing what they did. A lot of people thought Jim Elliot was an absolute nutcase for doing what he did. But ultimately, it doesn't matter what popular evangelical leaders think. It really doesn't matter what people think. Ultimately, we live, as Dr. Jerry Benjamin says when he visits our church, for an audience of One. We should live our lives for the purpose of pleasing our Savior.
Don't live your life for men's applause. I'll be honest; this is an area I struggle in. It's really easy to get carried away in taekwondo competition, to love winning, to love the competition, to love the compliments. But true abandonment for Jesus involves surrendering what I want for what God wants. It's really easy to live for compliments, so that people will say you're good at singing, or playing the piano, or sports, or even being so spiritual. I wonder sometimes how many things I do supposedly for Christ that I actually, deep down, I do for men's applause.
So that's my challenge. Live your life for Jesus, not for applause, not for compliments. When you're dead, what your tombstone says won't matter. How you're remembered on earth won't matter. It's what Christ did for you, and what you did for Christ.