Something You Probably Don’t Know About Ruth Graham but Probably Should

When evangelist Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007, she chose to have engraved on her gravestone words that had nothing to do with her remarkable achievements.

She tells the story that she had been driving one day along a highway through a construction site, and there were miles of detours and cautionary signs and machinery and equipment. She finally came to this last one, and this final sign read, “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” *

And that’s what Ruth Bell Graham chose to have written on her gravestone:

End of Construction. Thank you for your patience.”

Leonard Ravenhill, a well-known revivalist of the last century, had these words written on his gravestone:

“Are the things you are living for,
Worth the things Christ died for?”

John Maxwell wants these words written on his gravestone:

“Here lies a man who lived with purpose and intentionality.”

Jehoram (a king in the Old Testament)  had these words left by others on his gravestone:

“He passed away to no one’s regret.”

The words on my late wife’s gravestone are:

“In Christ, With Christ.”

The words I want on my gravestone are:

“He died leaning forward.”

How about you?  What will yours be?


C.S. Lewis put it this way:

“The Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought the most of the next…It is in since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

So when you come to the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you? What words do you want written on your gravestone?

It’s an honest, probing, important question.

Sincerely submitted,
Ken L Roberts

Please leave a comment: If you have an idea of what you want written on your gravestone—I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment in the section below. Thanks!

AND if you haven’t gotten my new 3 Easy Steps To Immediate and Massive Growth—get it for free now! Simply enter your name and e-mail address at the top of my website.


*Material from John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping, p 151

Photo of Ruth Bell Graham used under fair use.
“Gravestone of Ruth Bell Graham” by Billy Hathorn licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “Something You Probably Don’t Know About Ruth Graham but Probably Should

  1. Ken this is a great blog. I really never thought about it but now I will…thanks and once I find the words I will forward to you. God Bless

  2. Dear Kenny,

    My husband, Bob and I, purchased cemetery plots in advance, and he wanted the headstone installed so he could see it before he died, which was rather unusual! The only thing on it beside the names and dates were a cross in the middle. Then he wanted a Marine Corp symbol under his name, and I had the Scripture Isaiah 12:2.
    (“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”)

    • Jinny,

      Wow! this is impacting. What if everyone had to choose their headstone and what they would put on it years and years before they die? that would be a profound experience and put what we are doing in our current life in perspective of our death that’s sure to one day come.


  3. Ken,
    This is something younger men don’t seem to consider, at least I never did in my busyness. Now that I’ve entered the ‘second half of life’ this is definitely on my mind, even figuratively. Thanks for this and stoking the fires on how to finish well.

    Blessings brother,
    Tim Knable

    • Tim

      Thanks for the response. Now that I’m 60 I more and more find the urgency of living everyday with purpose. It’s not a morbid thing to me, but rather a true motivator. I want to hear the Lord one day say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”


  4. Pastor Ken,

    Great words of wisdom. Truly inspiring and it confirms why I am attracted to the scriptures in the bible that talks about telling the next generation about the commandments of the Lord.

    Have a blessed day and week!