Why I Trashed My Bucket List And You Should Too


What I am not saying: Experience is bad. Goals are bad. Having fun is bad. Adventure is bad. Etc.

Where’d the Bucket List Thing Come From?

Let’s pretend you have 80 years left to live. Most people reading this don’t, but we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. That gives you 80 years left to live. Those 80 years will go by quickly and one day you will be knocking on death’s door. One day you will die. Have you considered what your own death will feel like? I know this is not fun to think about, but it’s better to think about that now, rather than later when it’s too late. What will you care about in your final moments? Those of us who take the time to consider these things are blessed to be able to reverse engineer our priorities. Through this process, many people are beginning to recognize that we won’t care about our accumulation of material goods. In response, we are now caring about our accumulation of experiences.  The idea is fairly simple: “when I die, I won’t care what things I have, I’ll care about the experiences that I had.” Voila, I’ll create a bucket list (A list of things I want to accomplish before I die).

But I want to challenge you to question this assumption. Often when we realize that a problem is a problem, we jump on the quickest solution, especially if that solution is presented together with the problem. In this case, the problem is that when death comes, material possessions won’t hold value. The suggested solution that is often presented is that we will instead care about the experiences that we had. But is this true? Will you really care about your experiences the moment that you realize that you’ll never have another one again?

The Problem

The problem becomes clear. You can’t take your experiences with you either – at least not in the bucket list sort of way. This movement, like its material-focused predecessor, ultimately makes the same mistake: It’s all selfish. While we’ve done well to shift away from “I want these things,” we have only shifted error to “I want these experiences.” The key similarity being the “I want.” It’s all about the me and the now.

You see, both of these movements are based on a materialistic worldview (The idea that there is nothing beyond the material – no eternal, no heaven, and no hell). Because the modern mind has bought into this materialistic worldview (even Christians), our focus becomes material. If we are uncertain of eternity, we must focus on the here and now. This worldview, combined with selfishness and fear, has fed our desire for both material and experiential desires.

What’s the Alternative?

Death comes for us all. As Christians, we have hope beyond this mortal life – though we often don’t act that way. The well informed Christian should be poised to respond to death, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Nevertheless, like the rest of the world, many of us run through life trying to grasp fleeting moments, seeking meaning in things with no lasting value – be they possessions or experiences. It’s not that the idea of a bucket list is bad. It’s the things that we tend to fill those bucket lists with. They are selfish and earthly minded.

One day, however, we will all meet our maker and give account for what we have done with our lives. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. From this moment on (actually I made this decision a while back) I am throwing out my bucket list and trading it in for God’s bucket list for my life. To be clear, it’s not about working my way into heaven. It’s about experiencing everything that God wants for me, rather than experiencing everything that I think I want for myself. This will look different for everyone. God has a unique calling and purpose for each and every one of us. Rather than wasting our lives on ultimately meaningless materials or experiences, we should be focusing on ultimately meaningful missions. We should be serving one another to the glory of our Creator rather than serving ourselves for the glory of ME.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should we trash OUR bucket lists in exchange for God’s? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation…

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 For more like this, see YOLO: THE DOCTRINE OF DEMONS

  • Alex
    Posted at 10:51h, 23 May Reply

    I never liked the idea of a bucket list, (even when I was diagnosed with cancer last year) but couldn’t really say why. This clarifies my thoughts, thanks.

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