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Is a Bucket List Scriptural?

Posted on January 11, 2022
bucket list.jpeg

Have you ever made a bucket list? If you’re not aware, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” It might include going to a certain place, doing something unbelievable (like skydiving), or accomplishing a specific goal. The truth is, many people make bucket lists for themselves because they feel like they haven’t done much with their lives. “I need to accomplish some big things!” they say. Or have you heard this one—“you haven’t lived until you’ve been to __________!” 


With this in mind, is it Scriptural for Christians to make bucket lists? Before we get to that, consider what King Solomon had to say at the end of his life: “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards…I made me pools of water…I got me servants and maidens…also I had great possessions…I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers…And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them…for my heart rejoiced in all my labour” (Eccl. 2:4-8, 10). In other words, Solomon had it all! He did everything on his bucket list, if you will. But look at what he says next: “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and  vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (v. 11). 


Solomon admitted that it wasn’t worth it. You see, a bucket list doesn’t fit very well into a Christian worldview. We should not be living our lives to accomplish temporary pleasures in the short life that we have. To live for such things will leave us empty, just as Solomon discovered. Christian author Randy Alcorn explains it like this: “The ‘bucket list’ mentality—that this life is our only chance to ever enjoy adventure and fun—flies in the face of the biblical teaching of the resurrection [see Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2; I Cor. 15:52-53; Phil. 3:20-21]…Despite the centrality of the resurrection in Scripture and church history, many Christians have never been clearly taught its meaning, so they imagine they’ll live forever in a disembodied state.”


We need to remember that the resurrection we will experience one day will be a bodily resurrection. And then we will be able to do all kinds of incredible things in the new heavens and the new earth. Nothing on the old earth could ever compare to that! This is why it’s so ridiculous to live by a bucket list. It’s okay to do some cool things during your life, but don’t make that the focus of your life. It’s not worth it. 


Christian author Derek J. Brown sums it up well when he says, “Scripture certainly doesn’t prohibit us from making plans to enjoy specific things before we die. God is good, and he gives us all things richly to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17). But neither does Scripture encourage us to channel much of our energy to fulfilling these kinds of desires, or to make such pursuits the main thing of life.”


In conclusion, a bucket list is fine as long as you don’t allow it to control your life. The Bible certainly doesn’t condone making a bucket list. In fact, if we take Solomon’s words seriously, it appears that the Bible is against it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that one day (maybe soon) we will all be enjoying the new heavens and the new earth for all eternity. Don’t let yourself get caught up in living for the brief pleasures of this old sinful earth. 

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