Hope for Life Blog

The Last Letter

by on Sep.27, 2015, under Hope

It’s called The Bucket List, a movie about two men who endured treatment for cancer only to be told they had months to live. Together they compile a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”. Thus begins a hilarious and poignant journey to discover what is important when life is short.

There is a real life equivalent. On September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, a computer professor delivered a lecture entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” a hopeful and ironic marquee, considering that cancer was already devouring his pancreas.

Two presentations: one imagined, one all too real, for Randy Pauch died from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, 10 months after his “Last Lecture.” Both stories reflect the sense of urgency as time is running out and the need to cut all extraneous things of life to focus on what is really important.

These same motivations are seen and felt in The Last Letter. Written by an old man on death row, written in a dark, dank, cell. Written knowing he will not escape the executioner by a last minute reprieve or by a technicality. Written knowing that his end is quickly approaching.

He writes with the urgency of a condemned man and tells his only relative, his adopted son, the most important things to remember. This is what he wrote:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The prisoner is the Apostle Paul. The adopted son is Timothy and the Last Letter is the New Testament book of II Timothy, written shortly before Paul’s execution around 67 AD.

Today, now, as our world continues to spiral from disaster to warfare, to inhumanity, we must also proclaim the Urgently Important: that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.

If you had the chance to write your Last Letter, who would you address it to? What would you tell them?

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