My Bucket (2015)

bucketDepending on who you read or the numbers you believe, 75-80% of those who make resolutions will fail – many in two weeks or less.  Those are horrible odds.  And because of past failures, many people look for the proverbial white towel and give up and/or become cynical to goals or any attempt at change.  At times, people say things like, “I used to make resolutions.  But because I failed so often, I just don’t make them anymore.”

The famous quote “I yam what I am” from Popeye comes to mind.  For what it’s worth, that phrase has been used to rationalize immorality, settle for mediocrity, and to simply coast through life.  How many people do you know live six or seven decades only to look back on their life and say, “I should have… I wish I would have… If only I could have…”?  I know several.  The good news is it’s never too late.

A new year brings new opportunities – opportunities to invest in what matters.  In recent years the phrase “bucket list” has become popular.  In a 2007 movie, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman encouraged us to live life to the fullest.  “Do something you’ve always dreamed of.”  Etc.  As I see it, the trouble with a “bucket list” is the bucket is often limited to this world.  In other words, the parameters of the bucket force one to focus on worldly things.  The list may include jump from a skyscraper, travel to exotic lands, build the perfect house, drive the greatest car, paint the white picket fence, etc.  But as those things are added to the “bucket,” one finds the bucket to have several small holes in the bottom that allows the contents to drain.  The fulfillment found in worldly goals or possessions is fleeting.

Jesus once said, 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.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matt 6:19-21 ESV)

Did you catch it?  Jesus attempts to define the “bucket” for us.  Why focus on things that will one day be gone?  Why not invest in things that will last forever?  For some reason, I think the bucket God offers is without holes.  Remember John 15?  IF you remain in me… but if you don’t…

Of course Christians are far from immune to the ways of the world.  A popular preacher has asked believers to consider, “What would you do if you only had thirty days to live?”  The book and preaching series was popular for a time.  People began to do things they had been called to do years before.  Relationships were restored.  Faith grew.  But too often even those things that were once “hot” became “lukewarm.”  The passion was there for a time and then simply gone.  Why should it take someone describing our life ending in thirty days to cause change?

It seems to me that we need goals – whether we call them resolutions or not.  We must be reminded to “look towards the finish line.”  It’s much too easy to see all of the things around us and lose focus.  For that among other reasons, God offers us new seasons, new days, and even new hours.

In this new season, year, month, day, I resolve to:

1) Let God define the “bucket;”

2) Invest in things that will last rather than those things that are limited;

and

3) When I fail, lose focus, and fall, I resolve to receive God’s grace and get up.  Cf 1 John 1:5-10

I’m grateful for new seasons and another chance!

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