OUR LAST LECTURE

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. [1 John 2:6 (ESV)]

monarch-butterfly

Last Friday, I was blown away when I walked into a restaurant to discover that my family had gathered from both far and near to surprise me with a 70th birthday party. I couldn’t believe how beautifully they had secretly choreographed the entire celebratory weekend. With tears of joy leaking from my eyes and a heart bursting with love, I prayed that they would be as fulfilled in their lives as I have been in mine. Having just finished yesterday’s devotion about last lectures, I couldn’t help but think of the passing along of life lessons. Although I’m in good health, I know that much sooner than later my time in this world will be over. Is there a last lecture I should prepare?

Remembering that my children rarely listened to any of my lectures when they were young, I realized they certainly wouldn’t listen now they’re grown adults. I recalled Randy Pausch’s last lecture and what he considered the most useful weapon in a teacher’s arsenal: the “head fake.” Simply put, the head fake is indirect learning. While thinking they are learning about one thing, the students really are learning about quite another. Perhaps these devotions are my version of a head fake. They aren’t just about finding God in both His Word and everyday occurrences; they’re about how to lead our lives. And, like Professor Pausch’s lecture, while freely shared, they are actually for my children.

Most of us, however, aren’t professors or writers and yet we all have a last lecture, a legacy of sorts, to leave to those who follow in our footsteps. The best last lecture, of course, is the ultimate head fake—a life well lived. We can teach more with our examples that we ever could with our words. Unlike most lectures, however, that lecture lasts far longer than an hour or so. It is ongoing; every time we interact with our loved ones or they observe us with others, we’re giving that lecture. Do we treat people who can do nothing for us with the same respect and dignity we do to those who can do something for us? Is the Fruit of the Spirit obvious in our conduct? Do our actions match our words? In the end, the example of our lives will be far more powerful than even the most eloquent of lectures. If Christ can be seen in us, we will have given the most powerful lecture of all.

Heavenly Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit and guide us so that we are living examples of Jesus. Enable us to walk as He walked, talk as He talked, give as generously as He gave, care as deeply as He cared, forgive as freely as He forgave, and love as largely as He loved.

Live so that when the final summons comes you will leave something more behind you than an epitaph on a tombstone or an obituary in a newspaper. [Billy Sunday]

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. [Romans 12:9-18,21 (ESV)]

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