A Good Epitaph to Have



Leroy Columbo's marker on the Galveston Seawall
Leroy Columbo's marker on the Galveston Seawall

A  Good Epitaph to Have. . .

Have you ever thought about what epitaph you’d like to have?

Years ago I walked along the seawall in Galveston, I saw one I admired.   A plaque there read:

In memory of Leroy Columbo


A deaf mute who risked his own life repeatedly to save more than one thousand lives from drowning in the waters surrounding Galveston Island.

As I looked out over the Gulf of Mexico, I wondered about what kind of man Leroy Columbo was.  Evidently here was a man who exhibited a passion for saving lives.   I suspect he was a man who overcame his physical challenges, and put everything fiber of his being into the life saving business.  As I gazed down the beach, I could nearly see Leroy Columbo sitting alertly on his lifeguard stand.  There he was‑ the most focused lifeguard on Galveston Island.  I can picture him sitting on his perch oblivious to the surrounding honking horns and squealing children.  His focused gaze surveyed the waters for the signs of a swimmer in distress. . .

If anyone lives near Galveston Island, I’d love to know if this plaque survived Hurricane Ike in 2008.

You can read more about Leroy Columbo as well as see photos by clicking here.


Leroy Columbo Marker  Galveston, Texas
Leroy Columbo Marker Galveston, Texas


I can imagine his joy as he handed a rescued child over to a terrified mother- how many lives and families were changed by his live‑saving work!  With each saving act, his passion grew deeper to do what he was born to do‑ save lives.

As I stood there, I thought about our jobs as followers of Jesus. Our reason to exist is to be a part of  Jesus rescuing souls in need of God’s grace.  That is to be our focus and passion. Just as Leroy Columbo did, our focus and concentration must be on the job God has called us to.

We cannot change one single life‑ only God can touch lives as we’ve seen.

I’m convinced that now is one of the most important times for presenting the gospel to the wide world.  Technology and opportunities allow the sweet story of Jesus to penetrate to new places and into fresh hearts. The world today is sincerely searching for what we know is the answer‑ a personal relationship with God.

We are to keep our gaze out on the waters as we strive to reach those who need the life‑changing news of how much God loves them.  Let’s do whatever it takes to serve and minister to others! What greater privilege is there in life than to be part of a person coming to know Jesus Christ.

Pray often for your world. It’s the world that begins at your doorstep and extends to “the ends of the earth.”   . . . It’s the most important thing you can do!

One way you can support reaching the world for Jesus is through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. It helps support over 5000 missionaries serving throughout the world.  On my African and Asian trips I’ve worked with these dedicated men and women.  They are so worthy of our support and prayers.

Learn more about the offering at www.imb.org.

This story is adapted from the story of the same name in the book, Stories from the Creekbank by Curt Iles.

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