©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

God's Bucket List

My son and I watched the Morgan Freeman; Jack Nicholson movie, "The Bucket List," together. When we do watch movies together, we watch for quotable lines, and this one gave us more than a few that gave us a chuckle. But that isn't what drew me to read this book. I do have a bucket list--one that waxes and wanes as time goes by. But right now the top item on my list is going to see the Gulf of Mexico. I also have a "Pie in the Sky" list--one that is more pipe dream than actual to-do list that includes a Mediterranean Cruise.

While I am sort of on the topic of movies, one of my favorite lines from Gone with the Wind is when Rhett tells Scarlett to name her general store, "Caveat Emptor," Latin for "Let the Buyer Beware." I have one caveat here for this review. I am Baptist as they come. When I was born, my parents went to a Missionary Baptist Church, then moved to a Southern Baptist Church, and now I am a member of a Baptist General Conference Church. I give this caveat because Teresa Tomeo is a Catholic and this book uses a lot of Catholic references, quotes many Catholic publications and authors, BUT this is not a Catholic-Only book! I am a maverick Baptist in that I believe that many protestants have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in denying that any Catholic practice has any value. I am finding that many spiritual disciplines that were birthed out of Catholicism have eternal value. So it's not that big of a stretch that I was interested in this book.

After I finished the book this morning, I wrote down THE Bucket List:

Live with stillness--there are times our lives are so cluttered with doing that we can't hear our own spirits talking to us, much less the Spirit of God. Being still forces us to slow down and really listen to what God is telling us. Being still includes taking the time to read His Word, and letting that seep into us and do a work of restoration.

Live with your passion--find out what makes you hum, what really satisfies your soul, and do that.

Live with instruction--the worst student in the world is the one who thinks they know it all. As Christians, we can't begin to scratch the surface of knowing anything. Something God loves is a teachable disciple, and we all need to be teachable.

Live in the mess. Life is messy at the very best of times, and despite the desire to clean it up, sometimes we just have to close our eyes to the clutter and just live in the messiness of life. There are times we cannot just walk away from the mess, it won't be hidden, and it can't be cleaned up. Cancer (a topic I know intimately) is no respecter of persons, the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and lives just get messy. It's better to live through it, with it, around it, than it is to try to clean it up under our own steam or sweep it under the rug.

Live with understanding. I have a friend (actually my former boss) that I love to see for lunch at least once a week. We have a mutual admiration society, she says I understand her. But we also have to gain understanding for what God wants for our lives.

Live by confession. Something I learned later than I should have learned is to keep short accounts with God, to keep my relationship on good terms with Him. But confession means more than just listing our sins and saying "Oops, I'm sorry, Lord." Confession as a word is from the Latin meaning, "to say with," or in a more modern rendering, "I agree." There are many confessions that our Christian lives demand, including the fact that Jesus Christ is the source of our salvation.

Live the good life. In a worldly context, the good life means a nice house, nice cars, a country club membership, a successful business, and I could go on and on. Here in Teresa's book, the good life means living a life with purpose, with communion with God, in a learning obedience to God, and reaching out to share what we have to those who need what we can supply.

The ultimate item on this list is to fall in love with God and put Him first above all! Falling in love with God means we have to get to know Him in a way we have never known anyone else in our lives. We do that through Bible study, through interactions with other believers--including our pastors, theology teachers, etc.

There is one quote from the book that really sums up the whole theme: "Once we tap into God's calling for our life, it should feel like home."

Teresa gets five stars, two thumbs up, and a check-mark on her bucket list.

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