(Continuing the Heaven series)
Both movies, the "Bucket List" and "A Walk to Remember," contain the theme of making the most of one's remaining days on earth by achieving a list of goals and dreams.
The mentality of "do it all before you die" sounds like a good plan at first inspection. Life is short and you only get one chance to experience it all, right? I bought into that mentality most of my life, feeling the urgency to make the most of my youth, planning to live out my deepest desires before it's too late.
But then I recently started wondering about those brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who live in extreme poverty and who don't have the options to pursue their dreams before they die. What about them? Will their one chance be lost forever due to circumstances beyond their control? And what about those others who have willingly sacrificed dreams and luxuries in order to do the Lord's work seriously and wholeheartedly (Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Mother Theresa, Lottie Moon, to name a few)? And what about those who have no control over lost dreams such as having children, finding someone to share their life with, or getting out of a wheelchair?
In Matthew 19:27-29, Jesus talks about missed opportunities for His sake.
"Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?' Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever because of me—will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.'"
Wow…what a promise! To think that if I forget about doing it all and owning it all here, focusing on following Jesus and completing the work given to me, I will get the chance to do it all and have it all there—everything I missed out on—a hundred times over! It is important to realize this is a conditional promise though—those who follow Jesus and truly do give up things for His sake. I believe that giving up things for Him means either having a surrendered will about the things we can't control (belief in His goodness and plan), and giving up the things we do have control over that He asks for.
This way of looking at things gives me the courage to let go of my dreams and desires on this earth, and to focus wholly on the serious work that needs to be done for His Kingdom while there is still time. I can wait a little longer to "experience it all" in the place where there will be no fear, death, time constraints, or disappointment. When that day comes, I think I'll start with surfing the pipes in the shark-infested waters off the coast of Africa. What about you?