TO BE REMEMBERED BY OUR WORKS
'Only remembered, only remembered, only remembered by what we have done; Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling, only remembered by what we have done'. That is it, a song that is never left out in every burial ceremony. Yes, that is the chorus that has always claimed my tears each time it is sung. We shall be remembered by our works.
It is easy to condemn someone, especially behind him, even when the fault is ours. There will be a day of appraisal, when we will be remembered by our works. These are the occasions when we are on transfer, leaving our company for another, retiring from service or at death. Those who worked or lived with us will, through our deeds, remember us. Unfortunately, some of them, though they sang our praises, will tell the story as it was. Man can be a liar, history is not.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel, son of an Engineer, a Swedish Chemist, who was born in 1833, would have been remembered as the inventor of a mass killer. 'In 1866,' according to Google, 'he produced what he believed was a safe and manageable form of nitroglycerin called dynamite and made fortune out of it… In 1864, an explosion at his plant killed his younger brother and four other workers…' Only a few people are fortunate to read their obituaries. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe belonged to the few. And so was Alfred Nobel. Bing wrote that, in error, a newspaper published his obituary. It grieved him that he would be remembered as the inventor of chemicals for mass destruction of human beings.
He worked hard to rewrite that negative remembrance. 'In 1895, a year before his death, he wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize for honouring people for outstanding achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace. Today, he is remembered for the betterment of humanity.
What will you be remembered for, noting that nobody writes his obituary and neither wealth nor position can influence it? The living should appreciate that one day, death will come. This is why the Bible says that it is better to go to the house of mourning than that of feasting. We learn from funerals even when they exaggerate the dead's good works. It affords us the chance to review our lives, erase bad records and determine to make our lives sublime
Many years ago, during the funeral of a certain woman in my town, all the people who gave her funeral oration, spoke on her promotion of our Age Grade - Uke Agha (those born during World War 2). The Officiating Minister did not hide his disdain, wondering why she had no treasure of eternal perspective for remembrance. Many years ago, I was excited about my new neighbour and told my friends about him. When he heard his name, he told me that he was a thief. 'He stole my T.V,' he informed me. That was how he remembered that man, even though the fellow could buy thousands of television sets by then. He could not wipe off that memory. As some men put on their nice suits, looking good and dignified, some ladies are unmindful of them, recalling how they raped them when they were infants.
God has provided a way out for such men. Who else but God that made Nobel to read his obituary? It is possible for one to read one's obituary without conviction of its negativity. King David was confronted with the evils he perpetuated. Convicted, he repented and died a man after God's own heart. Nebuchadnezzar, the Syrian warlord, was convicted of his, and he repented of it. Eli, the Priest, was confronted with the sins of his children and he told God to do what seemed Him good. God answered him. He died with his two sons and daughter-in-law the same day.
My boss, many years ago, would regularly ask me whether his mouth was smelly. It was only with courage that he was doing that, considering his official stature. His mouth was not stinking but his character was odious. Each time he bought a car or moved into another house, he would invite me for prayers. As I prayed, he would move away from the scene so that nobody would associate him with the prayers. I remember him as a man who played games with God and His infallible Word! How will you be remembered?
Each time I come across King Jeroboam in the Bible, a tag always follows his name, as it were a degree he earned: 'The man that made Israel to sin.' What a painful way of remembering someone! Though not from a royal family, he became the king of the Northern Kingdom when Israel split because of the excesses of King Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon. Jeroboam built idol temples in Samaria and brought much sin to Israel. Judas, Achan, Jacob, Samson, Abraham, Mary (the mother of our Lord) et cetera, are all remembered for something, either good or bad. But 'He (Jesus) suffered under Pontius Pilate,' is recited in many Churches every Sunday in remembrance of King Pilate, who murdered the Lord Jesus. How will posterity remember you?