About thirty years ago, the preacher, Doug Parsons, wrote a bulletin article addressing the sin of selfish ambition. In that article, he told a story…
Near Lincoln, Kansas stands a group of gravestones that boggle imagination. A farmer named Davis, a self-made and determined man, managed to amass a considerable fortune, but had few friends and no relatives for whom he cared.
When his wife died, Davis erected an elaborate statue, showing both her and him sitting at opposite ends of a love seat. So pleased was he with this monument that he commissioned the sculptor to create another, this time showing him kneeling at her grave with a wreath in hand.
That made such a fine impression that he set out to erect still another tombstone, depicting his wife kneeling at his future gravesite with a wreath. He even put wings on her back, as she now resided in another world. So, as time passed, and one idea led to another, he eventually spent over a quarter of a million dollars on monuments to himself and his wife.
Davis had no interest in aiding his fellow man or benefitting his community. Nor did he become a blessing to the church. He used all his resources on himself and died at ninety-two, a lonely, dispirited man. His cherished stones are slowly, but surely sinking into the Kansas soil, victimized by vandalism and neglect, weathered by time.
How many people live out their lives in much the same way, building monuments to themselves, but ignoring needs of others about them? They avidly pursue their personal goals of fame, fortune, pleasure, and power. How different was Jesus, who “became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 5:15.) May God help us to do more with our lives and fortunes than build monuments to self.
--Douglas F. Parsons