We’re wrapping up Summer at the Movies with a powerful message from our Founding Senior Pastors, Jeff and Beth Jones. Part 3 of our series is filled with blessings of wisdom and truth as we compare the hit film, The Bucket List, with The Parable of the Rich Fool.
Throughout The Bucket List, we’re discovering how to live for the eternal while enjoying the temporal. Pastors Jeff and Beth encourage us to make the most of our days here on earth with our own bucket list to help us look at what we’re going to do with the little time we have left before joining Jesus in heaven!
In the film, we see two characters: Carter Chambers, an auto mechanic and a married man of faith whose marriage is struggling, and Edward Cole, a divorced billionaire who's been too busy making money to do anything meaningful with his life. The movie covers the journey of these two strangers who end up in the same hospital room as they’re both battling cancer and neither has much time left to live.
In the early parts of our lives, we have grandiose dreams of conquering the world and we’re told that we can do and be anything we want. We have adventures with friends and life feels limitless. But why does all of that start to lessen as we get older? Why do our grand ambitions fade away and become not only less realistic, but also less important to us?
Here’s the deal: A “Bucket List” helps us to look at the end of our lives and ask questions like:
A bucket list may sound silly, but it is a tangible way for us to look at what we are going to do with the little time we have left! Now that we have some background info on The Bucket List, let’s take a look at The Parable of the Rich Fool and see what we can learn by comparing the two stories:
Luke 12:13-21 (NKJV) 13Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
We’re going to talk quite a bit about 2 things: eternal things and temporal things. It’s not that one is evil and one is perfect; it’s about finding the right balance between the two. We live for the eternal and we enjoy the temporal. There are some people that are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good. Others are so earthly minded that they’re no heavenly good. We’ve got to find balance between both. Let’s dive into God’s word and learn more about his desires for us in this area to help us determine what should be on our own bucket list!
When you think of having a bucket list, is your list filled with primarily temporal things or eternal things?
How can our temporal lives influence our eternal lives?
How does your bucket list reflect your priorities?
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NKJV) …while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
One of our core values here at VFC is that we live for the line not for the dot. That value comes from this verse in 2 Corinthians! We live for the line of eternal things, not for the dot of temporary things. This ensures that we have the perspective and balance that God wants us to. So why is The Bucket List even important if we’re supposed to live for the line? These next few verses give us the answer:
Psalm 39:4-5 (NLT) 4“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. 5You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Every single day we have here on this earth is a gift! Our lives here will not last forever, so Psalm 39:4-5 is a good verse to remind us that we need to be living purposeful lives–on purpose, for a purpose.
Psalm 90:12 (NKJV) So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
If we live in light of eternity while also enjoying the temporary, life is great! Here’s a little exercise to help us number our days like we’re instructed to in Psalm 90:12:
Numbering My Days:
How old would I like to be when I go to heaven? ____
How old am I now? ____
How much time do I have left? ____
This isn’t meant to be depressing; it’s meant to be sobering as we truly consider how we want to live out the rest of our lives. How do we want to maximize our days for both eternal reasons and for enjoying the very very temporary things of life? Here’s how we do both:
When we talk about ‘living for the eternal’ in The Bucket List, what we’re talking about is living a life of faith. It’s making sure that what we’re doing here on earth positively influences the eternal Kingdom. Living for the eternal means helping lead others to the Lord. It’s living life with the confidence of knowing where we’re going when we die. The only way to spend eternity with God is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
When Jesus becomes the Lord of our lives, our identity changes and the purpose for how we live life also changes. We begin walking in an eternally-minded lifestyle. There’s no fear of dying and no regrets for living for eternity! It is so rewarding when we take the life that God has given to us and, in turn, give it back to Him by being eternally minded. It’s a little thing that changes everything!
There’s 2 simple ways to live for the eternal:
When it comes to knowing God, we’re not even talking about working for God or even serving God. Check out this verse that supports the incomparable importance of knowing God:
John 17:3 (AMP) Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true [supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus [as the] Christ whom You have sent.
God wants us to know Him! We can get busy and we can get religious and we can get focused on good works. But God’s true gift to us is eternal life through having a relationship with Him. He wants us to know His love and His mercy and His compassion and His kindness and His faithfulness. He wants us to know His character and His love toward and for us.
When we know and understand God’s lovingkindness, we wake up and enjoy God instead of waking up with a guilt complex or living in shame or out of a sense of condemnation. God is pleased with us through Jesus Christ; we are His beloved!
When we’re in a faith crisis, it’s imperative to focus simply on just knowing God–talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His word, letting Him speak to us, praying, worshiping, having communion and conversation with the Lord. That is eternal life!
When it comes to making Him known, we need to remember to grow in our faith together with other believers and serving God together, which helps us abide by this verse:
John 15:16 (NKJV) 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Serving the Lord and sharing His goodness and mercy and grace and love with others is the best way to make Him known to the world around us. When we work to make the Lord known, other people may not know us or remember us, but heaven does!
What does it look like for you personally to know God?
How can you personally make God known to others?
How did someone make God known to you before you became a believer?
Not only does salvation give us eternal freedom, but it also changes how we live our temporary lives here on earth. God wants us to enjoy the things He has given us! Remember, enjoying the temporary is great, but it can’t be super great if we aren’t living for the eternal. Temporary enjoyment without eternally-minded living is empty, bleak, and meaningless.
God never wanted us to enjoy one or the other–eternal life or temporal life–He wants us to do both! God gave us life, family, and friends, so we should enjoy every single one of those things every single day.
The foundation for living isn’t the temporary; the foundation is the eternal. Just like the man who built his house upon the rock instead of the sand; his life was built for eternity. If we build our lives on the temporary, our lives will fall apart when storms come. When we build our life on eternity, we can weather storms and tough times.
Living from that perspective changes the temporary for us in all the best ways. We believe God for health and strength and a long life; He will satisfy us according to the Scriptures. We are in the temporal world and time is ticking, but God’s got us and wants us to capitalize on the time we do have here. Check out this scripture that gives us permission to do just that:
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NKJV) 17Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Enjoy the temporary life; God gives you permission to do it! And while you’re doing that, be generous and live for the eternal because you’ll be storing up a foundation upon which you will live in the eternal.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (NKJV) 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. 12I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
When you build a life on eternity, then you get to enjoy the earthly gifts from God in that season! Preparing and planning ahead allows us the space and opportunity to enjoy the temporal and the fruits of our labor.
Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 (NKJV) 5For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.
7Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. 8Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil.
9Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Let’s be encouraged in the practical, applicable words of the Lord!
When you die, don’t worry about your temporary body…
Your relatives and funeral staff will do it.
They will take you out of the house and deliver you to the funeral home.
They will take off your clothes.
They will wash you.
They will dress you up.
They will even apply makeup to make you look presentable.
Many will come to the funeral to honor you.
Your things will be sold, donated, or thrown away.
Your keys, your car, your house, your books, your cames, and clothes will be gone.
You can be sure the world won’t stop.
The economy will continue.
You will be replaced at work.
Your pets will get used to a new owner.
The things you have done will be remembered, admired, and criticized.
Your good friends will cry for a while, but then they will laugh again.
Your picture will hang on the wall for a while, then it will be put in a box.
Someone else will sit on your couch and eat from it.
Your family will grieve for a year, two, maybe ten…time will heal.
Your temporary life will be a memory.
But you–the real you–are very much alive and well!
Because Jesus is your Lord, you will enjoy eternal life!
How are you preparing for the season of enjoying the temporal life?
How has building your foundation on the rock allowed you to enjoy temporary things?
What gifts has God given you here on this earth to enjoy?
As you begin writing your own bucket list and start considering the things you’d like to accomplish with your time still on this earth, ask yourself this questions as well: Where will you spend eternity after you “kick the bucket?”
God loves you, He cares for you, and He is so excited to have you spend eternity with Him in heaven! We were never designed to do life alone; we were always designed by a designer who made life to be shared together with Him. Praise the Lord!