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He Departed With No One’s Regret

We all want to be remembered in some capacity. We all want to be known in some way. We want positive memories associated with us, like how we make people laugh or how we encouraged a friend in some way. We don’t want to be remembered poor or be forgotten. There is a story in the Bible of someone who was forgotten after he died. It is the story of King Jehoram in 2 Chronicles 21. We often don’t study this king in detail. He’s not as famous as David, Solomon, or Hezekiah. Jehoram was the son of Jehoshaphat. While Jehoshaphat was a pretty good king of Judah, his son was not. Not only did Jehoram do what was evil in the sight of the LORD, but he was also married to Ahab’s daughter. If you recall, Ahab was remembered as the most wicked king of Israel. Under Jehoram’s reign, Judah lost territory, returned to idol worship, and was invaded by the Philistines. Because of his wickedness, Elijah prophesized that he would die of a severe sickness. And of course, he did. It was a foul and painful death.

Despite the many lessons we could learn by studying his life, that’s not what I want to focus on. Instead, I want to highlight what it says after his death. Starting in 2 Chronicles 21.19-20 it reads,

“His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers…And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of kings.”

That’s a pretty harsh response. They didn’t honor him like his ancestors, whether that be through fire or burial in the tombs of kings. But the worst phrase in those verses is “he departed with no one’s regret.” Jehoram was so wicked, so despised by the people that no one cared when he died. That’s absolutely awful. Just think of how awful of a guy you must be to have no one care about your death; no one to even pity you.

I’m hoping no one wants to be remembered like Jehoram. As Christians, we should strive have a positive impact on the world around us. Our Lord speaks to this in Matthew 5.13-16:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

We are supposed to live a life that glorifies our God. We are called to be both salt and light, meaning that we are to be impactful. Salt makes a positive difference; in the ancient world especially, it preserved food. Light makes a positive difference; it shines in the darkness. We should strive to be remembered this way. And I’m not just talking about when we die. Do you live in such a way were people miss you when you’re not around? Do you have a positive impact on your peers, parents, or teachers? Or do you have a negative influence? Maybe you depart with no one’s regret. Maybe when you leave a class, your teacher is relieved because you disrespected them the entire time. Or perhaps your friend doesn’t want to be around you because you make fun of them all the time. We need to be more aware of the impact we are having on others.

The context of Jehoram’s story is how people didn’t care that he died. Whenever we do pass away, we hopefully have lived in a way that people remember us in a positive way. Specifically, they should remember us as godly individuals. In the end though, it’s not their opinion that matters. Whenever we die, it’s God’s opinion of that we will care about most. Hopefully our legacy on this earth will be one of positive, godly influence.

But ultimately, we are striving to hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25.21).