My Bucket List
I’m sure that most people are familiar with the term “bucket list.” If not, it is a list of achievements, goals, dreams, and experiences that a person hopes to accomplish during his or her lifetime. It is all those special things that you would like to do before you die!
Do you have a bucket list? If not, there are even web sites available that contain ideas for things you might like to include on such a list such as traveling to exotic or beautiful places, training for and running in a major marathon, or even learning a new skill or sport.
I do not have a bucket list, but over the past few days I experienced a few things that made me think about it. I looked at the pictures of a precious newborn baby proudly displayed by an ecstatic grandmother. What joy thinking of this child’s future and the open, unmarked slate before her. I enjoyed a wedding shower for a young couple who will be married next month. Their happiness was contagious as they look forward to beginning a whole new chapter in their lives. And then I attended the funeral of a dear 90 – almost 91-year-old lady – and reflected on the rich years of her life. From great joy, to happy expectation, to thoughtful sadness – all in the matter of a few days. Each of these events, in their own ways, made me think about life.
As the pastor said during the above referenced funeral service, none of us have anything to say about when, where, or to whom we are born. We have nothing to say about when we will die. But we have a lot to say about what happens between those two points. The lives we live between birth and death will be marked by our choices and decisions, things we do or fail to do, our joys and our sorrows, our victories and our defeats.
King Solomon examined much about what happens between the time of birth and death in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon, the son of King David, began his earthly rule seeking and following God. However, he slowly began to drift from God and sought fulfillment in other things. Many of these things he addresses in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon sought fulfillment in having great wisdom (Eccl. 1:12-18), in pleasure (Eccl. 2:1-3), in his accomplishments (Eccl. 2:4-6), and in his possessions (Eccl. 2:7-17), but none of these things brought satisfaction. Solomon concluded in Eccl. 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”
If King Solomon had made a bucket list as he searched for satisfaction in life, he would have probably included acquiring more knowledge, having more fun, completing impressive projects and experiments, and amassing great wealth. But after all was said and done, he realized that only one thing really brought satisfaction and fulfillment – “to fear God and keep His commandments.” Wisdom, pleasure, accomplishments, or possessions could not deliver true fulfillment in life. That comes only through one’s relationship with God.
You and I may not know the date that will mark the end of our lives on earth, but each day that we are given is another opportunity to honor God with our lives. Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon reminds us that life is not always fair. Injustice often prevails. Yet King Solomon advises us to joyfully live the days we are given and to work willingly and heartily (see Eccl. 9:7-10). Each new day is a precious gift to spend wisely.
Perhaps I should start thinking about my bucket list. I know I can’t run in a marathon and I doubt I can afford much travel to exotic locations. But there are a few things I’ve always wanted to do, so maybe I’ll start that list just in case I have the opportunity. But whether I’m able to enjoy all of these things before I die, my bucket is already overflowing because of the love, mercy, and grace of my Heavenly Father and the life I have in Him. And one day when I come to that last date in my life, I know that a glorious new life in Heaven awaits where “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9) – to enjoy forever – no bucket list needed!