by Judy Allen

I was once asked to communicate an item from my bucket list for a family event. I had to think about that, because I don’t have a bucket list. Apparently, I still think I’m twenty years old, and that I have plenty of time to fulfill my desires.

Talk of bucket lists elicits thoughts of adventurous activities like skydiving or mountain climbing or traveling to exotic places. Traveling is tremendous; I’m in. Hiking, not necessarily climbing, in the mountains is both stunning and energizing; sounds good. However, my bucket list, if I ever have one, will most certainly nevercontain skydiving. If I ever jump out of a plane, I will require Jesus to hang on to me. Physically.

Some people have their buckets filled with career or personal goals rather than adventurous aspirations. Lose weight, write a book, get married and have a dozen children, make millions of dollars or become CEO might be found on these bucket lists.

The idea of a bucket list is a surprisingly recent phenomenon. In fact, the 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman wanting to do everything on their list before they kicked their respective buckets brought the term into common use.

While I understand the human desires and goals expressed in bucket lists, and even the wisdom of writing them down and remembering them, bucket lists seem a little short-sighted to me.

As a Christian my life will extend forever, and a list full of aspirations for life on this earth covers only a minuscule fraction of my existence. It is an important slice, I know. God has given me goals and desires because there are things he wants me to do while I’m here.

Maybe he wants me to go skydiving, mountain climbing, or traveling. God is wildly generous, and I believe he loves it when his children enjoy their lives and everything he has given them.  But that’s not the reason we exist.

What does God want for us in this life?

He wants us to glorify him in everything we do, from mountain climbing to cleaning the bathroom. He wants us to love him and love our neighbors. He wants us to serve others, even when it’s not convenient. He wants us to live in faith, joy and peace.

In other words, he wants us to live like Jesus lived.

Jesus was not at all interested in what he wanted to do with his life – he could have accomplished the bucket list to end all bucket lists. His single-minded focus was on what his Father was doing and then Jesus joined him in his work. Jesus was born to die for our sins. Therefore, his life was all about the bucket; his Father gave him the list.

If Jesus had had a bucket list, it wouldn’t have been filled with experiences that he desired in the few short years that he walked the earth. His list would have been far more eternally reaching. Perhaps your name, my name, and those whom we love would have been on his bucket list. His aim is for all of us to enjoy eternity with him, and he asks us to join him in that mindset.

We can certainly do everything on our bucket lists if God has given us the resources to accomplish them. But, don’t forget that Jesus had different desires. Instead of his own experiences, he wanted to give us all the opportunity to gain eternal joy, unimaginable experiences and astonishing love. We need expanded buckets.

If you’ve got a bucket list, go for it. And if you haven’t, that’s okay too. We have eternity to experience everything that we missed on this earth.

Judy Allen is an Area Director with Community Bible Study, and she also writes and speaks with the goal of making the transformative truth of Jesus Christ more impactful in our daily lives. She blogs at and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and best friend, Dan.  

An earlier version of this post first appeared here. Cover photo by Jesse Collins on Unsplash