Kick the Bucket List
by J.D. Greear
Published on November 19, 2023

Kick the Bucket List

One of the conversations I most dreaded having in my life was with my mom during my senior year of college, when I had decided God was calling me to forsake my law studies and go overseas to share the gospel.

My mom and dad were both Christians, but for some reason, I thought they would be disappointed in my decision. They had sacrificed so much to get me to college. They had pushed me to be my best and get the grades necessary to go to the next level.

I sat down with her at a restaurant between my college campus and our home, and I was trying to explain to her what God was doing. I was stumbling over my words, trying to convince her God had called me, and that this was a good idea.

She sat silently.

Finally, I just said, “Mom, I know this is probably really disappointing. I know you must have had this vision of me living close, making a comfortable living, and raising your grandkids in a place where you could see them every day. But I feel like God wants me to go live overseas where people don’t know about Jesus.”

And then I just sat there.  I was ready for the argument, maybe even tears.

But instead, she said, “J.D., your father and I have been praying for God’s will for you your whole life. And if this is how God wants to use you, we won’t stand in your way. There’s nothing that would make us prouder than knowing you gave your life back to God for his service.”

Even though I always knew my parents supported the concept of missions, I was stunned. But she wasn’t done.

“We’ll have all eternity to enjoy the blessings of our family,” she said. “So, if we miss out on some of them down here, that’s okay. We’ll have all eternity for that. We’ve only got a few years to ensure that people’s sons and daughters around the world have a chance to be included in our family.”

That’s the legacy I was given by my parents—and it was greater than anything else they could have given to me.

What legacy are you leaving? For what kingdom are you leveraging your resources?

Do you live as if you believe eternity is real and imminent? Are you teaching your kids to do the same?

I often hear people today talk about “bucket lists.” You know, all those things you want to do before you kick the bucket because you assume you’ll never have a chance to do them again.

But does that make sense for the Christian?

The book of Revelation tells us that at the resurrection, Jesus ushers us into the “new heavens and new earth.”

Scholars say new means “renewed.” That means that heaven is not some ethereal existence in the clouds where we sit around in diapers with Nerf bow and arrows playing the harp. Heaven is a new, renewed version of this earth, without the curse of sin.

That means that up there I’ll get to experience a perfected version of all the things I missed out on down here. All the mountains, stars, rivers, oceans, planets, animals, culture, arts, music, architecture, and extreme sports that I never got to experience here are waiting for me there.

Revelation 21:26 even says that God will bring into heaven “the glory and honor of the nations” (CSB), which means he brings in the best of culture. The best Italian food. The best of Arabian architecture. The best art. Mardi Gras without the debauchery. Disney World without the lines. The Jersey Shore without the Jersey.

The point?

It’s time to kick the bucket list. You don’t have to worry about anything you miss out on here. Instead, you can focus on leveraging your few remaining moments for eternity.

You see, there is one thing we can’t do there that we can do here: tell people about Jesus.

If you want to put something on a bucket list, make it sharing the gospel with as many people as possible. The people alive in the world during this generation have one shot to hear the gospel, and it’s us.

So before you kick the bucket, kick your bucket list. For eternity, you’ll be glad you did.

J.D. Greear is the pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He leads the Summit in a bold vision to plant one thousand new churches by the year 2050. Pastor J.D. completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Chick-fil-A since January 2022 and recently served as the 62nd president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor J.D. and his wife Veronica are raising four awesome kids: Kharis, Alethia, Ryah, and Adon.

This article has been republished from the J.D. Greear website and is under copyright law. It may not be republished without express written consent by J.D. Greear Ministries Team

Other books authored by Pastor J.D. Greear include Essential Christianity (2023), Just Ask (2021), What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (2020), Searching for Christmas (2020), Above All (2019), Not God Enough (2018), Gaining by Losing (2015), Gospel (2011), Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart (2013), and Jesus, Continued… (2014).

Feature Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay


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