By John Larkins
A common term in popular literary works is a “bucket list.” This generally is an opportunity for someone to indulge in expressing their dream for at least one special experience to be enjoyed before their life ends. At first, I thought this was an idea that only applied to older people, perhaps in their sixties or so, but we must be bravely realistic and recognize that predicting our time living is rather uncertain. While such a list might take some maturity and experience in planning, the concept of guiding future efforts toward a specific goal can be done early in life.
So, for example, a young person – as well as someone older – can desire a certain memory or possession, depending on their experience to the current time. So, let me point out some possible guidelines for developing one’s bucket list.
Priorities need to point toward the most important gain or reward or pleasure we can envision. Surely some intermediate experiences lead as our lives proceed, but some cultures have concluded that about eight years of life is not too early to be thinking about a relationship with God. Parents and other relatives usually encourage explanations as to the existence of a supreme being – a God – who created us, taught us how we were to live our lives in such a way as to practice some ways and avoid others. This activity provides a foundation for getting along with family members and other people in our lives, or simply be called “civilized.”
So, for young and old, age-appropriate reference to the Bible can be a basis for living in such a way as to prevent the loss of people’s respect and the love of God while gaining favor in both dimensions. Christian guidance, as a generality, should offer goals worth setting and achieving. We know God loves us without reservation, but, much like parents or civil law authorities, demands behavior compliance.
Your bucket list may include a visit to Yellowstone Park or Gatlinburg or Gulf Shores or even Australia, but these desirable adventures must be subordinate to learning all we can with respect to our eternal salvation. God has provided us with easy access to His divine word.
The printing press greatly expanded the likelihood that an individual person would have His word in our hands. The current political discussions on the importance of reading capitalize on that easy availability. I think it would an unsuccessful excuse to respond to God’s question, at our judgement, that we could not find what He commanded of us. Picking one of the 35,000 available churches as the one founded by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago is somewhat more difficult. Of course, you may say it does not make any difference which one you attend or maybe, none. That argument should probably be made with reference to the sacrifice Jesus gave to establish and endow His church. He personally trained His founding members for three years to run the church and spread His gospel to all nations, so He might be a little sensitive to belittling it. Jesus said, “As my Father sent Me, so I send you.”
Our bucket lists need to accomplish those matters of life and death, as well as fun. Memorial Day activities lead us to reflect on the long term. One thought provoking motto I have heard is, “Life is short, think of death!”
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.