Have you seen The Bucket List? It’s a movie about two older men who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and decide before they ‘kick the bucket’ they will do all the things they ever wanted to do before departing planet earth. It was a box office hit and I have seen it a couple of times.
A life-threatening illness, even with a good long-term prognosis, can cause people to focus on the future with a different perspective, but they are not likely to escape from the hospital and go on a juvenile joy ride. The point of the movie is that when faced with eminent death these two characters, played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, look inward to themselves to satisfy all of their personal desires and to have the personal experiences they always wanted to have, before it is too late. It is all about them.
Contrast that with the last day of Elijah found in 2 Kings 2. When both Elijah and Elisha knew that it would be Elijah’s last day on earth, they made the most of it to create a legacy, to pass the mantle of leadership for the sake of those left behind. They took a tour and the elder showed the younger the ropes, so to speak. They focused not on worldly pleasure, but rather on a Godly legacy.
At the end of the day. Elijah was taken up and Elisha carried on and when he parted the water, the prophets said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elijah.”
The movie actually ends on a spiritual note. After skydiving, racing, traveling and a host of other things, both characters come home and their lives and relationships are significantly changed for the good, as they focus on what really matters in life. I walked out with tears in my eyes and a warm feeling in my heart. I resolved to re-think my bucket list, to make sure my priorities are in order.
What’s on your bucket list? After all, we are all terminal. Before you depart, is it your goal to have all the fun you can, or to leave a Godly heritage and a spiritual legacy in your family, your community and your Church? Who, or what, matters most to you in life? What has God called you to do in the limited amount of time you have to do it?
Maybe it is time to re-think your bucket list – or prepare one if you have never done so before?