Exploring our one cemetery in Buchanan, Michigan my sister and I came upon a 25-foot marble monument dedicated to atheism. It read:
“Nature is the True God. Science the True Religion”
“The More Priests the More Poverty”
“The More Religion, The More Lying”
“The Christian Religion begins with a Dream and Ends with a Murder.”
I was stunned at the existence of such a monument and here it was in my hometown! I immediately went to our public library to find out the history of the monument.
Joseph Coveney was a wealthy orchardist in Buchanan who opposed anything Christian. In 1874 he erected the monument at the cost of $3000 dollars intending to place it on the town’s square to propagate his anti-Christian views. The town’s people blocked it from being erected on public land but they were powerless to stop Joseph from placing it on his own cemetery plot.
Coveney etched in stone that which he wanted to live on after him. Whether it be an inscription to Caesar, the Gettysburg address on the Lincoln memorial, or our own epitaph, stone is the most enduring option.
The Holy Spirit gave the apostle Paul something more enduring than stone for his ministry; he was entrusted with the tablets of human hearts, which are eternal. He writes:
“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3
Disciple-making is an eternal venture because it changes human hearts. Coveney’s monument today is practically unreadable but 2000 years after Paul’s life his ministry is living on because he chose to etch on that which would live on eternally.