January 21, 2015

​Spiritual Bucket List

This is the time of year when people commonly make resolutions. Besides the typical New Year’s resolutions, there is the “bucket list.” A bucket list enumerates activities, places, foods, or scenes people passionately want to experience before they “kick the bucket.”

Explorer John Goddard (1924-2013) popularized the concept, when at the age of 15 he wrote out a list of 127 adventures he wanted to accomplish. He spent his entire life seeking to complete his list. Goddard’s family stated that at the time of his death he had checked more than 100 items off his bucket list.

Creating a bucket list can be done in five simple steps: (1) brainstorm about what’s important to do before you die; (2) write a list of every such activity; (3) prioritize what you can reasonably attempt; (4) plan and initiate the effort and means to achieve your goals; (5) identify an accountability partner and evaluation time to help you persevere.

Balance Your Bucket

Lest we get too caught up with achieving our goals, Jesus specifically cautioned us to look beyond this life when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19, 20).

Jesus’ counsel motivates us to make spiritual investments that add to our eternal portfolio in heaven, where record is kept of the things we do that matter. Christ encourages us to perform tasks that result in eternal dividends.

We should take this counsel seriously, so here’s a challenge: in 2015, go beyond a simple bucket list. Create a bucket list that has spiritual value. This list is not designed to satisfy natural longing, or bring wealth or prominence; but it will develop character and bring spiritual and eternal results in God’s kingdom.

Use your spiritual bucket list to accomplish bold tasks, both large and small. Develop a list of worthy tasks that have spiritual value and that square with the principles of God’s Word.

Here are a few specific items you might consider adding to your spiritual bucket list:

Study: Start with the Revived by His Word Bible reading program, join the upcoming Believe His Prophets reading program that will be launched at the 2015 General Conference session; memorize a book of the Bible; study Daniel and Revelation with the accompanying Spirit of Prophecy material.

Reflection: Go on a spiritual retreat for a weekend or week away from life’s distractions.

Service: Volunteer temporarily or permanently for a stint of mission service domestically or internationally.

Giving: Sacrifice a significant financial gift to a needy cause; sponsor a student for Adventist education.

Witness: Study the Bible with at least one individual, and, through prayer and personal effort, see them through to baptism.

Influence: Speak out for justice, mercy, and righteousness.

Education: Visit a site connected with biblical or church history, such as an Adventist heritage tour.

Lifestyle: Get on a program to follow the eight natural remedies, and stick with it.

Facilitation: Establish a place of prayer in your home; join a daily prayer group.

Commitment: Preach a sermon; use your house as a center of influence by facilitating a regular Bible class.

Be Bold With Your Bucket

Whatever you do, whatever your place, be bold for God. Remember this counsel from Ellen White: “We are too easily satisfied with a ripple on the surface, when it is our privilege to expect the deep moving of the Spirit of God. Expecting little, we receive little.”* As you accomplish your goals, checking items off your list, enjoy the journey and develop deeper relationships with God and others.

* Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1967), p. 335.