Matt Kennedy+ posted this on Facebook from one of his sermons recently,
"I had lunch with a pastor who recently changed his mind on marriage. He told me: "Forbidding two men or two women to marry dooms people with same sex attraction to life without a fulfilled sexuality. Why should only heterosexual married couples have that joy? Doesn't forbidding that deny a person's full humanity?" Do you see the underlying assumption...if you believe that this life is all there is...or at least that this life is what matters most, then of course actualizing your personal potential is "it". That’s the secular gospel: suck the marrow out of the bone of life or find yourself in the hell of not having “fully lived”. But consider Jesus’ earthly life. He never married. No "fulfilled sexuality" for him. He had no children. He traveled no more than a hundred or so miles beyond Nazareth where he was raised. He didn’t taste the cuisine of the world. By the numbers, if we're measuring in the way the world measures, he met with very little success during his life, little accomplishment. If we were to compare his experiences with the experiences we consider necessary for human "flourish", we'll didn't do half the things that modern westerners think must be done in life in order to "truly live". No Carpe Diem for Jesus. Jesus did not live for the day. He lived for his Father. And his Church. For the sake of these loves, he chose not to flourish in this life." From this Sunday's sermon on Burial of Jesus..."
I was left wondering if this had any relevance to the modern preoccupation with sex and with having a personal "bucket list". You know, that list of things you want to do before you die. Our Santa Barbara killer certainly had a bucket list of sorts. To him, this life was all there was, and he felt that he had not fully lived, in spite of the fact that he had been blessed with more earthly things than 99.9% of the world's population, food, education, a car, a therapist...
While it seems to be a natural human trait to have wants and desires, Jesus teaches us that there is more to life than all those "things". Bucket lists are leaky buckets. We can never fulfill all of our desires.
I refuse to make such a list. I argue that the view of the Grand Canyon will be far better after I die than if I were to schlep all the way out there today. In my opinion, the "bucket list" is based on the underlying assumption that Matt+ refers to in his sermon: that this life is all there is.
So, if Jesus made a bucket list what might it look like? As Matt notes, he didn't travel very far, he didn't marry, he didn't party like a rock star or do any of those things that we might place on our personal bucket lists.
Maybe it might look something like this,
- 1) Love God with all my heart.
- 2) Love God with all my soul.
- 3) Love God with all my strength.
- 4) Love my neighbor as myself.
- 5) Tell all the world about 1-4.
Perhaps if we had somehow gotten that good news into the head of the young man who killed his neighbors in Santa Barbara, that tragedy would have been averted.
Until we live for God, part of which involves guiding our misguided children into the light of Christ, instead of living our lives for things, our life's buckets will remain unfulfilled and shot full of holes.
So the next time you are asked, "What's on your bucket list?" think about something simple like, "To abide in Jesus", for when you do, all those holes in your bucket will gradually seal themselves, and you will be filled.
"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." 1 John 2:6
Authorized (King James) Version