I have a confession: I’ve always been a bucket list kind of gal.
I have had many dreams on that list: travel luxuriously in Paris and Switzerland, spend a month lounging in the Maldives, photograph wolves during a helicopter tour in Yellowstone, go for a snowy sleigh ride at Christmastime in Canada, surf Cloudbreak in Fiji, master the sport of ice dance, hunt for a trophy bull elk, snowboard in Breckenridge, study to become a pediatric oncology nurse…my list was endless.
It was easy to focus on my bucket list, and not always so easy to consider God’s list. How did He want me to spend my time, energy and money? Where did He want me to invest my talents? My bucket list was a reflection of my own selfish desires but the reality of chronic illness has forced the necessary lesson that kingdom riches are to be valued over earthly adventure. The things of this world have no value in the next, though we pursue them with a “you only live once” mindset. Matthew 6:19-21 cautions, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Jesus’ ministry was three short years. He was living on borrowed time from the start and as a result, lived with a focused sense of urgency and purpose. He taught His disciples to think similarly. When He sent them out on their first missionary journey, His instructions were “Do not carry any gold or silver or copper in your belts. Take no bag for the road, or second tunic, or sandals, or staff; for the worker is worthy of his possessions”, Matthew 10:9-10. They were to be unencumbered by earthly possessions and utterly dependent on God’s provision. Stripped down to the bare essentials. The only thing that mattered was the mission.
As my health has gradually worsened over the past 10 years, my mental pen has erased most of the items on my bucket list. Do I mourn the loss of my dreams? Yes, I do quite often. However, I also realize the fleeting impact those fulfilled dreams would have had on my life and more importantly, on other’s lives. God has taught me to focus my time, earnings, possessions, activities, and talents on building up His kingdom instead of my own.
I try to live one day at a time, not bothering much with tomorrow and aiming to use each day and its gifts for His glory. Friday payday? Tithe first and give to others. Weekend relaxation time? Set aside time with the Lord and do things that glorify Him. Cleaning out my closet? Give the clothes to someone in need versus selling for profit. Learned a new skill? Teach someone else and multiply the benefit. Have a special possession? Invite someone else to share the joy of it. We must all use the gifts in our lives for Christ’s glory.
All of us are living on borrowed time, and it’s up to us to choose how we will spend it. Will we spend our days storing up earthly treasures only to be regretful on our deathbeds? Or we will be content to live simply, willing to share our gifts and surrender our bucket lists so we can build up God’s kingdom?
~ Abi Gordon serves as Production Coordinator at LIFE Fellowship. She enjoys watercolors, photography reading, writing and spending time outdoors. She is as a native of Colorado.