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Rethinking the Bucket List

Posted by on April 6, 2012

If you knew that you were about to die, literally within days, what would you do? Seriously, take a moment and consider how you might answer. You may already have a bucket list all drawn up. You may be massively uncomfortable thinking about something as sad as finding out you’re going to die soon. Or you may have never given it a second thought.

I know what I would do, and it’s lots of mushy-gushy stuff involving my daughter and my family and making sure my will was finished. But I wondered how different people might answer that question, so I found this website where folks can actually go and log their bucket lists. The answers I read ranged from hilarious:

smash a pie in someone’s face
adopt a meerkat
ride a mattress down a staircase

to tender:

catch fireflies in a jar (just come on down to Arkansas, honey)
hold a koala
swim with the dolphins

to downright heartbreaking:

beat anorexia completely
be important to someone
recover from my addiction

And then I read John 13-15, three of the chapters leading up to Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion. John 13 begins with this amazing declaration:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

First, He washes their feet. The Messiah, the Holy One of God, bends and washes disciples’ stinky feet. Then He teaches them, and they eat a meal together. In the course of that discussion, He predicts two betrayals – first that of Judas, and then Peter’s. And instead of marching off to sulk or trying to prevent either event, He tells them all not to worry and not to be afraid. He assures them that He is going ahead to prepare a place for them, that someday they will join Him and live with the Father. He promises to send the Holy Spirit – the Counselor, the Advocate, the Intercessor – and promises that whatever they ask in His name will be done.

Then He gives them the blueprint: remain in Me, and love each other. Expect to be hated, but don’t let that keep you from the work. Bear fruit, love, testify. He reminded them that He was the one and only way to the Father and that He would happily lead them there if they would but follow. All of this He said to instruct them – to help make the way ahead a little more clear. All of this He said, all of this He did, knowing that just hours from then, He would begin His march to the Cross.

I don’t know about you, but most of what I would spend my final hours doing involves what I want – what would make me happy, what would bring me comfort. But Jesus? He continued to pour Himself out, continued to be obedient to the Father’s will. Until the very last moment. Truly, He loved them to the end.

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