Summary: The clock is ticking! Limited time! Limited days! What would you do if you knew that your time was about to be up?
Pt. 3 - Bucket Lists
It hit national consciousness in 2007 through the tale of two men, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freemen, who both discovered they had a limited time left to live. The idea of a bucket list may not have been birthed by the movie but it was certainly highlighted! So, since we have been wrestling with the idea of what we would do if we discovered we only had one month to live I want us to stop for just a moment and I want each of you to fill in the three blanks in your bulletin. If you knew you only had 30 days left what 3 things would you want to accomplish? What 3 things are your highest and loftiest goals that if money couldn’t stop you and all limitations were removed you would do that would make you feel like you had really lived? Now lean over and show your neighbor your top item.
The concept of a bucket list can be helpful because it forces you to live with the end in mind. I think the reason the movie struck such a nerve is because it chronicled the lives of two men who were forced to face their end. What I want to challenge today is whether your list is really a reflection of what is most important in life. I think the best way to accomplish that is to examine a bucket list that can be found in Scripture. Crafted by a man who is now face to face with his own end it gives us a very clear picture of what may just be the template of a godly bucket list.
Paul is once again in prison in Rome. Time is about to run out. One month to live is not a sermon series for Paul it is a reality. He is about to be martyred . . . decapitated by the Roman Emperor Nero. So with his last few days clearly in front of him he puts pen to paper to his spiritual son, Timothy, and in so doing sums up what really mattered when the end was so close at hand.
2 Timothy 4:6-7(MEV)
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith.
When it came down to it there were only three things that really mattered to Paul.
Paul states I have fought the good fight! I can’t say I know exactly what he was thinking but I think perhaps he is saying that when he reviewed life what matters was that he gave his best every day. He didn’t take a day off or let down his guard in his attempt to live and use every day to accomplish God’s purpose for his life. It is interesting that he called it a fight. He would testify that it wasn’t easy. It was a battle. I think we fail to live at Paul’s standards sometimes because we fail to view our journey like Paul did. He recognized that we live life behind enemy lines. In review of his life he states I fought faithfully day after day. I stayed in the fight. I stayed alert, on guard, diligent and determined. He is saying, “I never quit!” “I never threw in the towel!” I fought every moment every day. I was a warrior in a war.
This steadfastness was important to Paul. It was on his bucket list. That he would remain faithful to his commitment was a big deal to Paul. Maybe he could have said I kept my word, I kept my vow, I kept my promise. My word mattered.
Can you review your life and say you have stayed in the fight? Have you faithfully warred for the important? Or have you warred for things that don’t really matter? Have you let your guard down? Loafed? Become distracted? Paul said he fought THE fight. The right fight. The one that mattered. What kind of fight are you fighting? Is it worth your life? Does it matter? Is it THE fight?
Paul then states that as he reviews his life he achieved another item on the bucket list . . . He finished the race. Similar but speaks to idea of completion. I finished what I started. It was important to Paul that he finish! He didn’t want to be known as someone who started something and didn’t complete it.
In 1 Kings one of the Kings of Israel responds to a warrior by saying “One who puts on armor should not boast like the one who takes it off.” He is saying, don’t boast when you start the fight but rather when you are able to return home and are able to take the armor off because that will mean that you have finished well. The king knew that so many people start but never finish!