Tag Archives: Randy Pausch

A Wild Enjoyment in Possessions

Story of the Day for Wednesday September 12, 2012 


A  Wild Enjoyment in Possessions


                    Hope in . . . God, who provides us riches for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and extravagant in sharing.  

                                                 1 Timothy 6:17-18



Randy Pausch captured the hearts of many Americans when he realized he was dying of pancreatic cancer, but refused to let his terminal illness break his spirit.  He helped remind us of the priorities that are so much greater than material things.


In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy recalled the time when he was still a bachelor and bought a new Volkswagen Cabrio convertible.  He went to his sister’s house and picked up  his seven-year-old nephew, Chris, and Laura, his nine-year-old niece.

Their mother warned them to be careful in their uncle’s new car. “Wipe your feet before you get in it. Don’t mess anything up. Don’t get it dirty.”

As Randy listened to his sister’s stern warnings he realized the kids were being set up for failure. Of course they’d eventually get the car dirty – it’s just what kids do.

Randy opened a can of soda, and while her sister impressed on her kids the need to be careful, Randy slowly and deliberately poured out the can of soda on the back seat of his brand new convertible. He wanted to convey to them the message that people are more important than things.

He was glad he spilled the soda in front of his nephew and niece because later on Chris threw up in the backseat. The poor boy would’ve felt horrible and guilty, but he had already learned from his crazy uncle that the backseat had already been christened.


If you bought a brand new convertible, could you pour a soda on the backseat like Randy did? I don’t know if I could. But don’t you wish you could?  I’ve never met anyone who says they value possessions more than people. But, it’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to live it.

As much as we want to guard our precious possessions, we should ask ourselves this question: who do you believe finds a wilder enjoyment in possessions – those who live like Randy Pausch, or those who would blow a gasket if a kid gets the backseat of their new car a little dirty?

Oddly, the more we covet and cling to material things, the less we enjoy them.


God invites us to be extravagant in our generosity. I hope it’s not irreverent to say that God is obsessive, but, if God is obsessive about anything, it is about giving. He would give you the moon. He would give you his only Son. Invariably, when you read in the Bible about God’s love, you will find him giving you something.


If you’re like me, and not quite to the point of wanting to pour pop on the back seat of a new car, maybe we can start by taking the next step: keeping a can of soda stashed under our car seat . . . just in case we get in the mood.

And store some towels too so your passengers don’t ride around with wet butts.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre) 


Making Someone’s Day

Story of the Day for Friday January 20, 2012

Making Someone’s Day

                    “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” 

                                                            Proverbs 25:11

Yesterday I received a letter of appreciation from Larry and Rose.  It was so thoughtful and it made my day.

At a 1995 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a study on doctors was revealed.  Researchers gave 44 physicians a “hypothetical” patient’s symptoms and asked each physician to diagnose the illness.  Half of the doctors were given candy and were told it was a token of appreciation for their participation in the study.  The other half were given nothing.

Alice Isen, a Cornell University psychologist, said the doctors receiving the candy did far better in diagnosing the patient than those who received nothing.

Appreciation lifts people up and increases their competence.


For some reason most of us persist in the notion that criticism is far more helpful in improving others.  And don’t get me wrong – criticism is sometimes necessary.  But ask yourself, do you perform better in life when criticized or encouraged?

So why are we reluctant to express our appreciation to others?  I don’t really know why.  But I do know that showing appreciation is a healthy spiritual practice.  When we tell someone we appreciate them, it is a way of saying that we are indebted to them for what they have done for us.


John Busacker once told a story about Bill, a member of the Board of Regents for a Christian college in Pennsylvania.  Bill was boarding a flight for a flight to Pittsburg when the public address system paged his name.  If he didn’t board immediately he would miss his flight.  But he got out of line to take the message.

Bill’s secretary called him to say the Board of Regents meeting was cancelled and she had re-booked him for a flight home.  When he reached his home town of Atlanta, he called his wife at the airport to pick him up.  There was a long pause and then his wife began sobbing.  “Obviously you haven’t heard the news.  The flight you were supposed to be on crashed and everyone on board has been killed.”

The point is not that the Lord protects us from all harm.  What about the people who died in the crash? Bill was unfazed by the incident.  He knows he’s in God’s hands and trusts in Jesus to bring him to heaven.  But, here’s the point: after the story spread, many people came up to Bill to say how much they appreciate him and how he has touched their lives.  The close call created an awareness of how much we appreciate others.

In The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch says, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

Do you agree?  So, what should we do?  Why don’t we procrastinate?  How about if we put off a hand-written “letter of appreciation” to someone for. . .oh, a half hour.  Get a cup of coffee.  Then think of someone who has touched your life.  You might be surprised at the joy you find in making someone’s day.

                                                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)