(Excerpt from Chapter "Living on my summit" from Leona's book-in-progress)
When I have reached one of my goals, it is good and right to thank God for the achievement, but not to settle down and bask in my successes. I must keep raising the bar and moving forward and upward. It is when I stop moving and pressing on that I become old.
That is why I consult my “bucket list” from time to time. Is my bucket empty in my advanced years? I would do well to examine what’s been in my bucket. Have I given up on or neglected some of the contents, or have some things simply leaked out? Should I press on to accomplish what’s left in my bucket?
I was curious about the origin of that analogy and did some online research. “The Bucket List" was the title of a movie about two terminally ill men and what they set out to do before they died. It came to mean a list of however many things you might want to accomplish before your own mortality closes the door. Before you “kick the bucket,” which is a slang term that has come to stand for dying. In short, it’s a list you have made of what you hope to accomplish or do in your lifetime.
But where did the bucket aspect come from? One source traced it to the Middle Ages when hanging was a common form of capital punishment. The victim would be taken to an elevated scaffold with a noose around his neck. He would stand on an overturned bucket or pail. When the bucket would be kicked out from under him, his body would drop, the rope would tighten, and he would be hanged.
In a sense, since a bucket list is a list of goals to achieve or roles in life or places I would like to go, or things I would like to do, I could very well ask myself, “Who put those items in my bucket? Did I? What was my motivation? As a Christian I should ask, “Have I consulted God and His will and purpose and plan for my life? Or am I simply on a self-centered ego trip through life? Are there things that should not be on my list? Are there valuable things I have omitted?"
In rural China, it is common to see two heavily loaded buckets being carried by one person. A long pole is suspended across the shoulders and two buckets in balance are hung on each end of the pole. It might take two buckets to contain all that some of us would like to do in one lifetime. There is nothing wrong with having personal goals and wishes and desires. On the contrary, it is good and right. I may fill up one bucket with that kind of list.
Nevertheless, I should balance it in the other bucket with a list of God’s priorities and purposes for creating me and calling me to become His child. One bucket may contain temporal desires; the other, eternal values and desires in sync with the will of God.
God isn’t about the business of raining on our parade or taking all the fun out of life. The Scripture says, “God has given us richly all things to enjoy.” God created the world and everything in it for man. In the Psalms we read, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” God is an over-blesser, always generous to give us more abundance than we can ask or imagine. God’s storehouse of goodness and mercies is overflowing. The bucket list of how He wants to favor His children is a lot weightier and richer and a greater treasure than anything we could think of to put on our own bucket list of “to do’s or to be’s.”
I encourage myself to be more concerned with God’s bucket list for my lifetime, however short or long it may be according to His sovereign plan. The question I should ask myself is not, “Have I accomplished all I want to do from my bucket list?” I can’t go wrong with continually praying, “Lord, I want Your will to be done in my life on earth as it is in heaven. Show me how to fulfill Your bucket list for my life!”