Your Last Lecture

By John Grant

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.� John 14:27

Randy Pausch, a terminally ill professor whose earnest farewell lecture at Carnegie Mellon University became an Internet phenomenon and best-selling book that turned him into a symbol for living and dying well, died this week of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called “The Last Lecture,” where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. Only in Pausch’s case, the popular professor really was facing death – and he talked about what his childhood dreams had taught him about life in a 76-minute speech titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” He said he had recently been told he had no more than six months of good health left.

In April, the book “The Last Lecture” was published and leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists, where it remained this week. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

I have been following this story for several months and often thought how I would react to such an opportunity. What would I say? Who would I call? How would I spend my limited time left on earth?

If a doctor told you that you had two months to live, how would you live those two months……. fearing and questioning eternity, getting mad a God? Would you cower in fear and regret, or would you be like Dr. Pausch and make your mark in your final year? Let’s face it, we are all terminal. No one gets out of this world alive, none can escape death. All of our life is a legacy. What do we want to leave, to be remembered for?

John’s Gospel tells us Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27). We are to fear neither life nor death, for as Christians, each can be a joyful experience.

None of us know how many years, months, days, hours we have left, but we do know that they are limited and we should not have to receive a medical verdict like Dr. Pausch did to kick into high gear. Live all of life to the fullest, leave a legacy and celebrate life as we await the glory of eternity. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your live, short or long, Live it to the fullest.
(a thought on life from John Grant)

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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney. He is an active writer and frequent speaker.  He can be reached by e-mail at


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