the dash between the dates

Andrew, my roommate, and I just had a profound conversation about bucket lists.  My philosophy:  It’s not the things you haven’t done, but rather, the things you have done that make your life meaningful.

I’m reminded of the movie UP. I believe this clip will explain it better than I can:

The conversation carried on and he decided, “Too many people write bucket lists.  It’s the ‘Here’s what I need to do in order to make my life meaningful,’ people that don’t get anywhere.  But it’s the people who say, ‘My life is meaningful, but here is a fun list of to-do’s that one day my kids, grandkids and signifciant others can look back on and say, ‘That was a good time,” that get the most out of life.”

I completely agree.  I’d love to go to Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Israel, China, and maybe Africa (I know right… so countercultural). I’d love to to go skydiving, be on a Michael Jackson Music Video (welp… ), live for a month like “Man vs. Wild,” be a regular on a one-hour comedy television show, perform on broadway, meet Meryl Streep, and possess telekinesis.

I am not focussed, nor am I wasting any of my time hoping to ever have the opportunity to experience any of these things.  Ultimately, these are just things I’d like to do.   It’s similar to saying “I want to eat an entire truckload of ice cream and have the magical power of not getting sick or gaining a pound.”  Yeah, I know.  You’re thinking that has nothing in common with my previous list because obviously you can’t eat an entire truckload of ice cream and have the magical power of not getting sick or gaining a pound.  That’s not the point.  The point is this:  If I set my sights on something that might not ever happen, if my goal is to experience X, Y and Z before I die, I set myself up for disappointment.

Do not think I’m being “holier than thou.”  I recognize and acknowledge that I definitely have a tendency to come off that way; however, I think it is ultimately just a misunderstanding.  Naturally, each person is his toughest critic.  I am also a person, and therefore I am my toughest critic.  My short-comings are so numerous, I’d be a fool to to EVER say I was holier than the next man.  That being said, leave this notion at the door as I continue.

I used to want to go to Broadway.  That was my all-encompassing ambition.  Theatre.  My passion. My life’s dream and joy.  Transitioning from Broadway to the big screen.  These were all thoughts that consumed my mind.  They weren’t bad, nor are they bad.  Wherever I had made up my mind to go, I would share the gospel.  But God saw fit to direct me to the foreign mission field, i.e. cross-cultural church planting among the unreached people groups of the world.  I have gladly adopted this ambition as most precious in my life.  I can completely relate to Paul in Romans 15:20.  This passion replaced Broadway.
All other things pale in comparison to this ambition or goal, if you will.  And my goal pales in comparison to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

If I ever get to live or visit or see or do or experience any of the things on “my list,” it will be because God has allowed me to do them.  I will relish in the delightful time I will have.  But I will not intentionally make time in my life for anything trivial when compared to my life’s purpose, i.e. to make sure worship of the one true Lord is happening everywhere, to the glory of God the Father.  I am not going to plan trips to Ireland or Scotland (unless of course, this is where my honeymoon is to be), and no, I might not ever shake Meryl Streep’s hand.  But there will be no misconception in my mind of ever having the delusion to do so.

I’m writing too much and it’s late.  The Bible is the final voice of reason, so consider Paul’s wise words in Philippians:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

And last but certainly not least:

“To live is Christ; to die is gain.”

While we still live on this earth, we need to be solely dependent on and solely focussed on Jesus Christ.  Dying is gain, because it means standing in the presence of the object of our lives and our faith.

OH! I almost forgot.  What does, “the dash between the dates,” mean?  Well, mine begins with 1990 and is to be determined;  1990 – ?

That dash is thin and short.  Consider James:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little and then vanishes.”

We have just a little bit of time.  Don’t focus on the little things.  Focus on the eternal. Make the most of life.  Live Christ. =]

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    • chelle
    • February 22nd, 2010

    Miles – Thank you, I couldn’t agree more with you. It is so easy to get caught up in the “want to do’s” that I sometimes feel we miss the point of this incredible life…I know I have in times past. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

  1. Glad I could help. =]

    And thanks for the thoughtful note. It is easy to get caught up, isn’t it?

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