Junk mail arrives in my mailbox nearly every day—requests for contributions from charities I never heard of, coupons for the latest whimsical restaurants, deals supposedly too good to pass up on home services, even advertisements for the best private academies to give a potential John Jr. the best start in life. And then I sometimes receive an invitation to a complimentary meal from a retirement planner who wants me to hand over my life savings and let him care for it. The latest invitation in the mailbox was an eye-opener from a pair of local businesses, funeral homes to be specific, seeking my attendance at a “pre-planning” seminar.
Pre-planning for what? Oh, that. Really? Is it time already? Do you know something I don’t know?
I understand that I have crossed the peak of Mount Middle Age and am picking up speed heading down the other side, but I don’t think I’m ready for the knacker’s yard yet. My first question on opening that ominous invitation was, “How did they get my name?” Obviously, if the businesses expect a return on their advertising investment, the solicitation needs to be targeted toward those likely to use the service.
Did they catch my face on a roadside camera during one of Raleigh’s famous traffic jams? Perhaps some newfangled sensor measured my blood pressure as I watched yet another idiot cell-phoning instead of driving? Did my response reveal too much? “This guy is likely to blow a gasket soon. Add him to the list. We have a spot in our seminar for him.”
Might someone in the medical profession have shared the names of patients who have the potential not to need their bucket list much longer? Could the nationally known organization, the Acquired Abundance of Respectable Partisans, rent out their membership lists to businesses wanting to target the over-fifty-five demographic?
I may never know how I ended up on the list, but the invitation does stir the thoughts. No one gets out of life alive. We all die. And what we believe about what comes next should flavor how we live now. The advertisement’s catch phrase, “pre-planning” seminar, is spot on because I need to live ready for the next phase.
Some scoff at the idea of a next life or embrace the hope that we can come back and try again, perhaps with a different set of circumstances. My hope comes from another Source.
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT
Have you read the conversation Jesus had with the thief dying beside Him on the next cross? It’s short, to the point, and dripping with hope.
One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, “So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself—and us, too, while You’re at it!” But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Luke 23:39-43 NLT
We have it on the authority of the Son of God that there is another life after this. That thief closed his eyes on earth and awakened in a place beyond description. One famous evangelist, Paul, amplified the idea with these words:
Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT
Connect with me if you have questions about your destiny or if I can help you find the path. Hope is a sweet companion to have inside us as we do life.
I’m certain of my destination, but in the meantime I have high hopes of making continued contributions to the lives of others, of accomplishing things I’ve not yet considered, of growing stronger in personal character, and of digging deeper into the life of faith in God.
My bucket list is growing longer not shorter, and I won’t be done…until I’m done.