From the Pulpit: A bucket list for believers

February 24, 2019

What’s on your bucket list?

A “bucket list” is a list of the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill, and life experiences you desire to have before you die. The clock is ticking.

A few years ago I watched a movie, “The Bucket List.” Corporate billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and working class mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. They share a hospital room together. They script personal bucket lists. They decide to leave the hospital and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die. In the process, both men heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find joy in life.

Isaac Watts penned these words: “Time, like an ever rolling stream, soon bears us all away. We fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day.”

Each of us is going to die. The only question is: “Will we live and die for Jesus, or live and die for nothing?” In the Gospel of Mark, a rich man approaches Jesus with a question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Evidently, 70 or 80 earthly years wasn’t enough (Psalm 90). The rich man wanted more time; eternal time. Jesus invited the rich man to get right with God. The rich man turned down the invitation. It wasn’t on his bucket list. Scripture says that he had great possessions. I wonder if he had great possessions, or if his great possessions had him?

A friend of mine wakes up every morning and prays the following prayer: “Lord who do you want me to visit with today, and what do you want me to say?”

He was in Denver for a church assembly this summer. He prayed his usual prayer and then got into the elevator. Inside the elevator he met a pilot. A conversation began. “Where is home for you?” “Dallas,” was the reply. “Where do you worship?” “I don’t worship. I don’t do God anymore. I grew up Roman Catholic, but I don’t go to church anymore. God’s not in my life.”

My friend offered this pilot a book, “One Heartbeat Away from Eternity.” My friend said to the pilot, “Will you read this book if I give it to you? You know, eternity is a long time. You don’t want to get this one wrong.”

When it comes to bucket lists, I have one, too. My list includes low-cost, affordable Christian child care for parents in our community. My list includes a Christian hospitality house where visitors coming to Mayo for medical care can be wrapped in the love of Jesus — where patients receive excellent medical care and no-cost hospitality and housing; where people head home with the good news of Jesus and not only a favorable medical report. My list includes sharing the love of Jesus and the gift of salvation in His name with those who are hungry for hope, abundant life, and time everlasting.

The clock is ticking. Every day we are expending 86,400 seconds of life. Don’t let life just pass you by. Make sure Jesus has first place in your life and on your list. Better yet, let God script your bucket list.

Mark Twain once said, “When I die I would like to go to heaven for the climate, but I think I would probably prefer hell for the companionship.”

What’s on your bucket list? Heaven, I hope! God has a bucket list and the salvation of His people is right at the top.