Well I turned the page on my National Parks wall calendar this morning and was immediately depressed. There staring at me was this stunning photo of the Grand Canyon and immediately I wanted to go there.
I haven’t visited the Grand Canyon since Billi and I drove there on our way to California in my ’75 Ford Pinto shortly after we were married 32+ years ago. Aside from the fact that driving anywhere in that Pinto was an adventure fraught with hazard, we saw some amazing sights on that trip and visiting the Canyon was the high point. Or the low point, depending on your perspective. It is a 6,000 foot hole in the ground, after all.
Since then we’ve had the opportunity to visit a lot of interesting places, from Virginia Beach to Malibu, from the Everglades to the Minnesota boundary waters. One of the best photos I’ve ever taken (in my opinion) was this one up along the Beartooth Highway in southern Montana.
Staring at this photo and the one on my calendar of the Grand Canyon made me think about the many other places I’d love to visit if only money and time would conveniently synchronize, such as Glacier National Park. Many people set long-term goals of all the places they’d like to visit or things they’d like to do before they die. Those goals are referred to as a “bucket list”, after a movie of the same title. There are even books out now with such titles as “100 Places to Visit in the U.S. Before You Die” or “100 Places in the World to See Before You Die”.
The idea behind these books, and bucket lists in general, is that if you don’t git her done in this life, it ain’t happenin’, and you will have just missed out. I guess that kind of thinking bothers me a bit because it betrays a this-life-is-all-there-is outlook. Not that having travel goals, or other kinds of goals, is bad. I would, after all, really like to see Glacier. It’s the idea that I’m somehow going to be incomplete if I don’t get everything enjoyable done that there is to do in this life before I kick the bucket.
Maybe for those who don’t believe in God and trust Christ as their Savior, fulfilling a bucket list is the only thing they have to look forward to. But for Christians, bucket lists just don’t make sense. Won’t we, as joint inheritors with Christ, receive all things (Rom. 8:17, 32)? And forever? “All things” would indicate to me not just this earth, but all things that Christ created. That is, the universe. It’s a good thing we’ll have forever because the universe is an awfully big place.
Whatever we end up doing in that day, unlike much of what we do now, it will all be for the glory of God as he, through us, renews this universe which is now groaning, waiting on the final revelation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:18-23). In that day, thankfully, bucket lists will be forever obsolete.