RE-THINKING THE TALE OF DEAD MEN
Parson to Person – By W.A. Dillard
The proverb heard over and over is: “Dead men tell no tales.” However, practical evidence abounds that this proverb is wrong and needs to be righted. “Dead men do tell tales!” Think with me for a moment.
An estimated fifty thousand martyrs since the days of Jesus on earth testify that the Christian faith is worth dying for. Moreover, the uniform stones of a military cemetery declare that democracy and freedom are worth dying for. There is much biblical evidence that “Dead men do tell tales!”
Wisdom comes to us from the voices of those who have gone before us. What is most important to them will be most important to each of us. So, what is the tale that dead men tell?
They tell of the foundational character of faith: that it is essential to salvation, Eph, 2:8-9. That it is essential to a good relationship with God, Heb. 11:6, and that it is first in the order of spiritual gifts, I Cor. 13:13. Additionally, everything that is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14:23.
Dead men tell us of the potential power of faith in the believer, Matt. 17:20, and of its importance at death when the claim of the grave, the great equalizer of earthly distinctions, will not be denied. Here genius, heroics, wealth, statesmanship invention, philanthropy, etc., all fade into the background, and the all important issue is: was this a person of faith in God?
Who are these dead men who tell such tales? Just to name a few, consider Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, Moses and his parents, Joshua, Rahab, and an innumerable host of others. Hebrews 11:4 points out Abel, who by faith offered 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.”
Furthermore, there is another who speaks through the vicissitudes of time. It is a certain rich man who lived contemporarily with Lazarus. Luke 16. Millenniums of time have come and gone, but he still is desirous of a drop of water on his burning tongue. He wants to warn others to not follow his path. Truly, dead men do have a tale to tell. Wise people listen and act appropriately.