What’s a “bucket list”? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a bucket list is a list of things that one has not done but wants to do before dying. The phrase is taken from another phrase, “to kick the bucket”…and so is a list of things we want to do before we kick the proverbial bucket – before we die.
When I first heard of bucket lists, my thoughts went to Psalm 139:16 – where we’re told that God has all our days written in His book before we’re born. And then to Paul’s statement that, as we are in Christ Jesus, God has already prepared works for us to complete (Ephesians 2:10). What does God have written in His book that He wants you and me to accomplish before we die? Before He calls us home?
What does God want us to do before we “kick the bucket”?
First on God’s bucket list for everyone born, from Adam to the last birth of time, is that we be saved. It’s His will that ALL should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).
Then Jesus gives us the two great commands (Matthew 22:36-40):
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind; and
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
These are definitely on God’s bucket list for us, right?
Then we have the highest purpose on God’s bucket list for His children – the one determination that salvation and all the commands of the Bible are designed to accomplish. Paul writes, in Romans 8:29, that God’s purpose, His “determined beforehand” – the Greek meaning for the word predestinate here – bucket list for each one born is that we be saved, love Him, love our fellowman, and become like Jesus in our lifetime on earth.
So what was Jesus, as a Man, like? You can draw up your own list of characteristics, but I’ll give us a few patterns of Christlikeness that God wants us to take on before we “kick the bucket”.
- Matthew 20:28 Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve. God wants us to have servant hearts. We are, with love, to serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
- Mark 1:35 Jesus is a Pray-er. He prayed while He lived on earth, and He prays now (Hebrews 7:25). God wants us to be pray-ers, too (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Luke 7:47&48 Jesus is a Forgiver. God wants us to be forgivers, too. In fact, He bases our continued forgiveness from Him on how we forgive those who do us wrong (Matthew 6:14&15).
- Matthew 5:2; 11:1 Jesus taught and made disciples. God wants us to share the good news of the kingdom and grow other Christ-followers (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19&20).
- Matthew 9:10&11 Jesus socialized with His friends and with sinners. God wants us to open ourselves to the lost, as well (1Corinthians 9:19-22).
- John 6:38 Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will. God wants us to live in obedience to His will, as well (John 15:10).
- Acts 1:9-11 Jesus went to heaven. And He’s made a place for us there (John 14:3; 17:24), and He wants us to be with Him there!
The last thing on God’s bucket list for us is that we make it to heaven: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” (Matthew 25:34). I want to go to heaven, don’t you?!
Let’s make certain that the bucket list we make for ourselves includes our fulfilling God’s bucket list for our lives. Paul wrote: “Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do ALL in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God by Him” (Colossians 3:17). We must be willing to put ourselves at Jesus’ feet that we may learn Christlikeness, and so by His great grace meet God’s “determined beforehand” purpose for our lives before we “kick the bucket”, or He comes to take us to Himself. Let’s bring honor to God in our daily living, so that in our dying, He is pleased that we have accomplished HIS purpose for giving us life, and life eternal.