Thursdays in the Texts: A Biblical “Bucket List”

Boy Eating Tomatoes

” A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction  in his work. …”

Maybe it’s just me, but I like having a “bucket list.”

Every year, instead of making resolutions, I make a bucket list of goals to give my year meaning and purpose. That way, I know what I want to get done, not what I’m going to strain to avoid doing. And I also know, on a given day, that I can choose among a whole bunch of things I care about accomplishing. Some have deadlines, sure. Many call for weekly progress. But they’re goal focused, not deprivation focused. And that makes it much easier for me to keep going toward the purposes that give my life meaning.

As many of you know, for more than two years, I’ve been collecting Bible verses that describe what God tells us to do. I started this project since so many of us have views of God’s goals for our lives that are limited to what God tells us not to do.

Thursday posts will focus on material from this project. Today, from Ecclesiastes:

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

Is the writer suggesting that we forget God and just become immersed in this world? Clearly not, because he points out that food and joy come from God. Still, he says nothing is a better goal than to enjoy the work and food God has given.

A friend told me this week about one of her neighbors who has a Harvard master’s degree and is working at a grocery store. I’m sure many of us know — or even are living — such stories. And yet God says nothing is better than to enjoy the work and food God has given. God even urges, by way of caution:

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

It doesn’t matter whether my vision of “the old days” is the high spending tech bubble or the “wealth-creating” housing bubble or the “free-spirited” 1970s or the “God-fearing” 1950s or the hard working and “unified” war years … or, for that matter, the Founding Years, or Abraham Kuypers’ Netherlands or England when the Wesleys were transforming the working class or even the fast-breaking days of the first-century church. What God says instead is to remember that:

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

There is always much to learn from those who have gone before us. At the same time, we are intended to live in the world we have now.

My “work and food” bucket today includes:

  • Walk a mile
  • Post this blog
  • Write a couple client pieces
  • Work on a couple web sites
  • Send notes to several people I met yesterday / other admin
  • Teach a class
  • Enjoy healthy meals (plus some dark chocolate!)
  • Enjoy my husband and family

What about you? 

God bless you all!

About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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