“20 Places To See Before You Die: The Ultimate Travel Bucket List”, “The Irish Bucket List: things to do in Ireland before you pass”, “The Foodies Bucket list: 42 dishes to try before you die” and the slightly less doom-laden ““Top 10 places to see in Donegal”—these sorts of lists enliven my Facebook feed with increasing regularity.
The phrase ‘bucket list’, popularized by the 2007 film, is your list of places you want to go and things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’. The thinking is that since our days on this planet are short, pick out what you really want to do, and go do it, see it, visit it, eat it.
I have no great interest in a bucket list. Don’t get me wrong—I love this world, find it endlessly fascinating, and would love to go and see many of the far-flung places and sample the culinary delights highlighted in these lists. And I see nothing wrong with doing these things. So why no bucket list?
Bucket-lists make sense—if you believe this world is all there is. Cram it all in before you exit stage left. They also make sense if your view of the afterlife is some disembodied, ethereal experience or a merging into the one spirit of the universe. This world is undoubtedly beautiful in places, so get it all in while you have eyeballs and tastebuds.
But what if there is a resurrection and the world to come is a perfect restoration of all that is beautiful in this world, and you have endless time to explore, without deadlines and vaccinations, without aging and its limitations, without danger from wars, bandits, avalanches and plane crashes, without any hassle.
That’s what the Bible teaches. God has created a fantastically beautiful world populated with incredible sights, wondrous tastes, fascinating people. But it is only a shadow now of what it was, and will be again. One day when Jesus Christ returns all things will be made new. The Bible knows nothing of sitting around on clouds strumming harps, instead Christ’s people will get to explore God’s glorious creation in all its wonder, forever and ever and ever.
How do I know?
The reality of Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the resurrection of his people. And his miracles were little tasters of his ability to produce a world without sickness, death, disease, storms, cancer and every other flaw. Only he can make it right, and only he can take you there.
Infinite beauty, infinite splendour, and infinite time to explore—why would I pick the top 10 and rush round them all, when I can take my time and see everything?
Oh, I have a list all right—a very long one—of things to do, and places to see after I’ve kicked the bucket. Call it a post-bucket list. I can’t wait.
There is only one thing that needs to be on your bucket list—make sure you trust Jesus Christ as your saviour before you kick the bucket.
And for Christians—there's nothing wrong with taking in the sights and sounds of God's glorious creation this side of death, but remember it isn't what we are here for! Enjoy it, let it turn your heart upward in worship, and let it fill you with anticipation at seeing it all in glorious perfection.