Here Is My Obituary
For too long, my life was about me and what I have done. No more. It’s now about what Jesus has done, for me and for the world.
I was being interviewed for a job in college athletics. For a guy in his twenties who lived for sports, it was a dream job.
One of my interviewers was an elderly man who posed this question: “Why do you want this job?”
“I love sports,” I said. “When I read the newspaper, I always read the sports section first.”
“Good answer,” he replied. He then chuckled and said, “When you get to be my age, you always read the obituaries first, to see which of your friends has died.” Everyone in the room burst into laughter.
That was some 25 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. (I am now myself a regular visitor of the obituaries page.)
Obituaries are evidence that someone has passed through, almost like footprints on the beach. For most of us, these life tributes are the final impression we make on this earth.
Time, like the tide rolling in over those footprints, causes our story to slowly fade away. Life for the rest of the world goes on.
I always scan the obituaries for people I know. I also like to read about complete strangers. Some of their stories make me smile, particularly those that tell of a life surrendered to Jesus. Others—untimely deaths due to disease and accidents—leave me sorrowful.
The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about the footprints I am making on this earth. Is what I am doing today and every day making a lasting, Kingdom impact? I hope so.
And what about the very last impression I will make? What would my family say if they had to write my obituary today?
Frankly, I don’t care to have the world know much about my career, my education, my hobbies and other worldly pursuits. Are these things important? Yes, they are. But they are not most important.
For too long, my life was about me and what I have done. No more. It’s now about what Jesus has done, for me and for the world. And so, I want the record of my life to above all else give glory to God for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.
That’s why I have decided to write my own obituary, as if today were my last. Here, then, is my final footprint, my last chance to be heard, my message to a world that desperately needs to be saved:
Rodney G. Brandt was born April 26, 1963, in Defiance, Ohio.
He was born to Marvin and Emma (Hoops) Brandt and was the youngest of seven children. Rod was known for saying that his parents refused to quit having kids until they got it right.
He was also known for his often poor attempts at humor.
Rod committed his life to Christ as a teenager while on a camping trip with the Campus Life youth ministry.
In his early adult years, Rod strayed from his faith and lived mostly for himself. He pursued the American Dream: self-determination, achievement, leisure and financial security. He thought these things would bring him happiness. But, ultimately that pursuit left him with profound emptiness.
The price of Rod’s sinful life was certain death. The path he was on would have ultimately led to eternal separation from God.
But God never turned his back on Rod, never gave up on him. In fact, God so loved Rod, as he does everyone on this earth, that he sent his son, Jesus, to die for all of mankind’s sins so that anyone who believes in him would have eternal life.
When confronted by the reality of his sin, Rod could not deny it. He thought about all of the poor choices he had made in his life. He had so many regrets.
Rod was deeply ashamed. He wondered how God could ever forgive him.
But while Rod was still wallowing in his shame and regret, his Heavenly Father saw him and was filled with compassion for him. He welcomed Rod back with open arms!
You see, Rod didn’t need to worry about being good enough to get into heaven, because being good enough was never a requirement. (In fact, it would have been impossible.) He needed only to be born again.
Rod was saved by grace, through faith—and this was not of his own doing; it is the gift of God.
From that point on, there was no condemnation for Rod, because through Jesus he was set free from sin and death.
Rod liked to write and for many years worked in marketing. That is what he did, but it isn’t who he was. His career didn’t define him. His true identity was as a child of God.
Rod did his best to live out his years as the salt of the earth and a light to the world. He fought the good fight, he finished the race, and kept the faith. Rod died knowing that nothing in all creation could ever separate him from the love of God.
He has traded his mortal body for an immortal one. He is in that glorious place where Jesus wipes away every tear, where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
Rod is survived by his wife, Lori, children Amanda Pickering and Cameron Brandt, his parents and his siblings Cynthia (Kenn) Sawmiller, Gregory (Linda) Brandt, Alex (Cheryl) Brandt, Eric (Dawn) Brandt and Bradley (Lori) Brandt, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Jeffrey, with whom he has now been reunited in heaven.
In lieu of flowers and other memorials, Rod’s family suggests that donations be made to Christian evangelism ministries, so that the gospel of the kingdom of God may be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations.