What If You Only Had 6 Months to Live?

            What if you were told you only had six months to live?  What would you do?  What would you tell your wife?  Your children? Your friends? What advice would you offer?  If the elders gave you an opportunity to speak to the church, what would be your  final words?

            Randy  Pausch, a terminally ill computer science professor at Carnegie  Mellon University, was given that opportunity.  On September 18, 2007, he stood in front of 400 people at the university to deliver his last lecture entitled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.”  He spoke of the pancreatic cancer that would eventually claim his life.  On that day he was youthful, vigorous and jovial.   Ten months later on July 25, 2008, he died.  But he knew that time was coming.  That is why he gave this lecture.  He said it was not for himself, or the audience but for his three young children. 

            Randy’s lecture became an internet sensation.  He was interviewed by ABC’S Diane Sawyer, appeared on Oprah, and gave the commencement address to the 2008 graduating class at Carnegie Mellon.  In April he released a book with the title “The Last Lecture.”  It is an extension of his lecture on how to live life to the fullest.

            The book became a number one best seller on both Amazon and the New York Times non fiction best seller list.  Not long ago I read the book.  It is very good.  In it he combines humor, inspiration and intelligence to share his wisdom and philosophy life. 

            In the interview on Good Morning American, he told Diane Sawyer,  “If I only had three words of advice it would be ‘tell the truth.’’  And if I had three more words, I would add ‘all the time.’”  He observes that too many people don’t want hear the truth, either about themselves or about life.  Randy challenged his students to face the truth about themselves, their lives, their dreams, and their potential.  (For more information on Randy, the book, and the lecture see  http://www.thelastlecture.com/index.htm)

            His lecture has been seen by millions on the internet. His story is likely to be made into a movie.  And his book will be read by millions more.  But his experience is one shared by us all.  The Hebrew writer observed, “It is appointed to man once to die.”  Sooner or later each of us will face the inevitable.  It may be sudden.  Or we may live to a ripe old age.  It may be accidental. Or we may die as a result of disease.  We may have advance notice like Randy Pausch.  Or it may happen it a flash.

            But make no mistake about it.  We will all die.

            What if you had the opportunity to deliver a final speech?  Last words?  Parting advice?  Could you with integrity say, “I have followed Jesus and He has made a difference in my life.  The best life of all is the Christian life.” What would the truth be about you?  About your life?  About your destiny?  Sobering thoughts, indeed.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Live it for the Lord.

—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


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2 responses to “What If You Only Had 6 Months to Live?

  1. Betty Rhodes

    Several months before my grandfather died, he looked at me and said, “Life’s Evening Sun is sinking low….., Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?” Sadly, I did. However, the fact that he realized it and was able to express it that way has always meant a lot to me. It was his way of saying ‘goodbye’. To echo your thoughts, Ken, we should all try to be ready for that final day every day for it can come any time. .

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