Have you ever heard of the Memorial Audio Reproduction System? I would suppose you have not, but then few have. According to its patent (U. S. patent number 4,169,970), it is summarized as follows: “An audio reproduction system is provided for use in conjunction with a tombstone for the repeated play-back, upon activation, of a prerecorded message.” In other words, before you decease, you can make an audio recording of yourself (up to two hours long). The recording is stored in an electronic device in your monument. The playback of your recording is affected by a motion detector. All passing by your grave will hear your final message. Imagine walking through a graveyard and hearing someone call to you from the grave!
What would be your message from the grave? How much would you be willing to pay for the ability to ‘speak from the grave’ to passers-by? (The latest pricing I could find was from 1981 -$10,000!) Well, as my grandfather would say, “hold your horses”! The truth of the matter is, you do not need to pay for a fancy gizmo to speak from the grave. How you are living now, your words, deeds, example, and influence will continue till the end of time!
The Hebrews writer noted: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4). Though it is not expressly stated, every person mentioned throughout Hebrews 11 continues to speak to us today. The voices of the faithful of God reverberate through the centuries; their lives are examples for us to follow. For instance, Noah is an example of faithful obedience (Heb. 11:7; cf. Gen. 6:22); Abraham is an example of faithful following (Heb. 11:8, 9); Moses is an ex-ample of faithful suffering (Heb. 11:25, 26). Paul would admonish the Corinthians, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). And the saints at Philippi were instructed, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example” (Phil. 3:17). The message from the graves of the righteous is “run with patience the race that is set be-fore us” (Heb. 12:1).
Voices from the grave are not limited to the righteous dead; the unrighteous also speak to us from the grave. Jude wrote that “Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). In other words, the ‘Sodomites and Gomorrhians’(I just made that word up!) not only speak from the grave but also warn us; pleading with us not to live as they lived lest we suffer a similar condemnation.
The point of all of this is simple. Our lives compose a voluminous library recorded for all who follow after and played back with great volume by those whose lives we touch and who follow our example. Some suggest that what we do affects only ourselves (What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?!). But the truth is, by our lives, good or bad, we speak from the grave. What will your memorial say to the world?