Empty Bucket

Recently I was asked to communicate an item from my bucket list for an upcoming family event.  That’s a problem for me, because I don’t have a bucket list.  Apparently, I still think I’m twenty years old, and that I have plenty of time to fulfill my desires.

Talk of bucket lists elicits thoughts of adventurous activities like skydiving or mountain climbing or traveling to exotic places.  Traveling is tremendous; I’m in. Hiking, not necessarily climbing, in the mountains is both stunning and energizing; sounds good.  However, my bucket list, if I ever have one, will most certainly never contain skydiving.  If I ever jump out of a plane I will require Jesus to hang on to me.  Physically.

Some people have their buckets filled with career or personal goals rather than adventurous aspirations.   Lose weight, write a book, make millions of dollars, or become CEO might be found on these bucket lists.

The idea of a bucket list is a surprisingly recent phenomenon.  In fact, the 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman wanting to do everything on their list before they kicked their respective buckets brought the term into common use.

While I understand the human desires and goals expressed in bucket lists, and even the wisdom of writing them down and remembering them, bucket lists seem a little short-sighted to me.

As a Christian my life will extend forever, and a list full of aspirations for life on this earth covers only a minuscule fraction of my existence.  It is an important slice, I know.  God has given me goals and desires because there are things he wants me to do while I’m here.

Maybe he wants me to go skydiving, mountain climbing, or traveling.  God is wildly generous, and I believe he loves it when his children enjoy their lives and everything he has given them.  But that’s not the reason we exist.

What does God want for us in this life?

He wants us to glorify him in everything we do, from mountain climbing to cleaning the bathroom. He wants us to love him and love our neighbors.  He wants us to serve others, even when it’s not convenient. He wants us to live in faith, joy and peace.

In other words, he wants us to live like Jesus did.

Jesus was not at all interested in what he wanted to do with his life.  His single-minded focus was on what his Father was doing so that he could join him.  Jesus was born to die for our sins, therefore his life was all about the bucket; his Father gave him the list.

Can we trust God to offer us experiences that will provide a productive, satisfying, and even adventurous life?  I believe we can.  Even if this life is not terribly exciting, we have eternity to experience everything that we missed on this earth.

Do you have a bucket list?  What’s on it?




3 thoughts on “Empty Bucket

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  1. I would love to go to Japan. I lived there when I was in elementary school and then again when I was in high school. I think it would be incredible to go be there again and see it anew through my adult eyes and with my husband. There is a Jewish phrase that I place over this desire: be’ezrat hashem = “if God wants.” So, if God wants, I am going to take a trip to Japan!

  2. I’ll confess I don’t understand the whole bucket list thing for the very reasons you state here. I’ve heard some of my age peers talk about their lists, and I always draw a blank. There are things I’d enjoy doing, but growing in faithfulness seems to be the single item God has placed on the list he’s given me. 🙂

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is list-challenged. So far in my life, God has given me experiences that I had no idea were coming and wouldn’t have thought to ask for, and growing in faithfulness overarches them all. Thanks for your comment Michelle!

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