A while back, a movie came out called “The Bucket List.” I am not sure what it was all about because when I watched it, I was on an international flight and kept falling in and out of sleep. But I saw enough to understand that the movie’s co-stars, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, played terminally ill men.
Edward Cole and Carter Chambers had certain things they wanted to try before they died or (as they say on the street) “kicked the bucket.” So the term “bucket list” has moved into our culture as something you want to do or try before you go home to meet your Maker.
I’ve written before about some of the things I would like to try before I die. But I’ve already been blessed with a more-than-exciting life. I’ve had the opportunity to work and serve around the globe. I’ve walked the Great Wall of China and been detained by rebels in the Ivory Coast. I’ve even found myself in a dugout canoe in the middle of a jungle night, helping catch crocodiles to feed the tribe next day.
Over the past few months, I’ve made several trips into the jungles of Panama to live in a hut, sleep in a hammock and eat meals cooked in a huge black kettle. So what on Earth would I like to do before I die? I believe I should divide my list into three parts: things I would like to do, things I hope to do and things I must do.
I would like to fly in a fighter jet. And this particular “would like” is getting closer to reality. In November, the commanding officer at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio has invited me to train in a jet simulator. This opportunity came about because he heard of my desire to fly a fighter plane. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Also, I would like to visit Ireland. My grandparents were first-generation Americans whose parents were all born in Ireland. In fact, I grew up with a granddad named Walker Winfield Scott. His Irish first name was handed down to me. I know very little about life in Ireland, and would like to visit my family homeland.
I would also like to own a convertible, buy a bigger house, etc. We all have many things we “would like” to do, but we won’t be crushed if we don’t obtain them. Life goes on.
There are also things I hope to do. I hope to take my family on another trip. Several years ago, I gathered up my sons and their wives and treated them to a weeklong vacation. This turned out to be a perfect present for all of us. The joy of our family spending time together was worth every penny I spent, and it was the best gift I could have given my wife. The whole event proved to be such a blessing that I hope to do it again. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I’m praying we can work it out.
The things I hope for have a bigger part of my heart than the things I would like to do. I sense an urgency about them that shows their extra level of importance in my life.
Finally, there are things I must do. This list is much more limited. Yes, I must eat, I must drink and I must sleep. But I find it interesting that Jesus has already dictated what His followers must do. In John 9, He speaks to His disciples. He uses his short sermon to tell them, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me.” And then he gives a reason why we must be about His work: “Night is coming when no man can work” (John 9:4, NASB).
The things today’s teenagers tell me they must have or must do seem almost comical. They must get an iPhone, they must go to this concert or they must buy certain clothes. Isn’t that just like the enemy? He’s telling this generation their wants are a must. Sure, they “would like” these things. But we all know that if they don’t get them, the sun will still come up in the morning.
Mom and Dad, teach your children the difference between their wants, hopes and musts. The ability to understand and separate these will help them guide their lives and put their priorities in order.
And when you share these truths with your children, make sure you tell them the things Jesus said we “must” do. Because we know the night will come, our musts should line up with . . . His.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, email walker@awestar/org. Phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.