A dozen years ago the movie, “The Bucket List” was popular. Jack Nicholson, a white billionaire, and Morgan Freeman, a black auto mechanic meet in the hospital and find they have only one thing in common- they both have a terminal illness. So they make a “bucket list” of the things they really wanted to experience before they die. So, they check themselves out of the hospital, jump on a private jet and the adventure begins.
The year that movie came out I was asked to preach at a large church out of state. The pastor was going on vacation for a month and invited the of us guest teachers to each talk on the topic, “My Bucket List- If I Had Only A Year To Live.” The pastor who invited us, set the pattern he hoped we would follow, by preaching the first of the series. He had his list of ten fun, or meaningful things he wanted to do, mostly with his family.
Frankly, I was appalled.
So my message was not what he or the church expected. Someday when I see Jesus, I’d be ashamed to tell him, that with the last year of life he gave me, I went sky diving, took a snowmobile trip in Canada, or went sailing in the Caribbean. Would I do some fun family things? Of course. But I hope the majority of my time would be pouring my life into family, friends and even strangers, and that was my message that morning.
There are people in my life who do not yet love Jesus. There are things I still want to tell our grandchildren about God and what following Jesus looks like in real life. There are strangers who need help, sick people who need encouragement and lonely people, a friend and a laugh. My wife may be afraid of what life alone will look like, so she’ll want me to hold her close and reassure her.
In other words, I hope to live the last year of my life, pretty much the way I try to do now, just more intentional- love on steroids, without wasting my time on TV, the Internet, or social media. So if this is it- your last year of life, the real question for all of us should be this, “What is Jesus bucket list for me?” Better yet, why not ask that question today, and then begin living it out this year? Pray for Holy Spirit wisdom and make that list today. Put it in your Bible where you’ll see it every day. Review and revise it at least annually.
I don’t know if Jesus will ever ask us what we did with the last year of our life, because he already knows. The question for all of us is, do you?
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” Revelation 20:12