In Mount Hope Cemetery, Hiawatha, Kansas, you’ll find several large gravestones erected by John Milburn Davis. Davis began his working life as a lowly hired hand and managed to amass a considerable fortune. In the process, he didn’t make many friends. Nor was he close to his wife’s family, since they thought she had married beneath herself. Embittered, he vowed not to leave them a cent. When his wife died, Davis erected an elaborate statue depicting her sitting with him on opposite sides of a love seat.
He was so pleased with it that he planned a second monument, showing his wife kneeling to place a wreath at his future graveside. Then he had a sculptor place a set of wings on her back. One idea led to another, until he had spent a quarter-of-a-million dollars on tributes to his wife and himself. When people asked him to contribute to the local hospital, or a swimming pool for children, the old miser would say, ‘What’s this town ever done for me?’ Davis spent his life’s fortune on statues and died at ninety-two as a lonely, grim-faced resident of the workhouse.
And what happened to his monuments? Each and every one of them is slowly sinking into the Kansas soil—victims of time, vandalism, and neglect; memorials to spite and self-centred living. There’s a certain poetic justice in the fact that, within a few years, they’ll all be gone. Only one person attended farmer Davis’ funeral—Horace England, the tombstone salesman!
Don’t let a similar thing happen to you—make your life count for God!