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Updating Your Bucket List

Are you familiar with the expression of having a “bucket list?” If not, it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you desire to experience before you die. I don’t have an actual list, but there are certain things I have hoped to achieve. One these is to do a triathlon – I will get my chance to cross this off this weekend when I participate in the Cache Valley Super Sprint Triathlon.

So what are your future hopes and dreams? Maybe it is to travel, learn another language or run a marathon. What is keeping you from achieving these goals? For me it was simply making the time to train! If a lack of time or finances is keeping you from pursing your goals it is important to remember that to meet these goals we must commit ourselves to the task.

If it is to travel, I will need to save up money and plan my trip. If it is to learn a language, I will need to allot the time to take a class and study. If I want to run a marathon, I will need to train. To achieve my goals I will need to make intentional choices. The idea of a bucket list is to have my goals clearly stated so that I can recognize the sacrifices I need to make to achieve my goals.

For me, it meant dedicating the time to work out in the three disciplines of the triathlon. I knew that unless I did this I would not be able to achieve my goal – to finish the race. Paul uses similar language when he speaks of how we are to live our lives, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

Remember the definition of a bucket list, “goals you want to achieve before you die.” If we think about it, shouldn’t the goal at the top of everyone’s bucket list to be ready for death! If I cross off everything on my list but am not prepared for death, what have I gained? While seeming obvious, many remain ill prepared for death.

Everyone has their reasons, but it seems that the most common reason is that facing death can frighten us. However, as with the other things on our bucket list, once we have prepared ourselves, gone through the training, we will find that the fears that previously immobilize us are removed. If we are willing to invest the time into our preparation, we will find ourselves ready to face all our “What if” questions.

To prepare ourselves for death, it is good for us to start by considering our need for salvation. Salvation offers us hope in the face of death with the promise of eternal life. It is also important to understand that the promises of salvation and eternal life are not only a future promise but also a present reality for the follower of Christ. It is not something that we hope to claim in death; it is something that we live in today. “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Death frightens us because we feel ill prepared. Just as I would be overwhelmed if I needed to compete in the triathlon without training, so too is facing death without knowing the promises given to us in Christ. The promise is that through Christ we are set free from the fear of death, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

My suggestion is that before you tackle the things on your bucket list that you first choose to go into training for life by preparing yourself for death.

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