“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20
I once read a story about a man named Fred. He had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, which caused him to make a life-changing decision. He decided he was going to start living as if there would be no more tomorrows, and something amazing began to happen. Fred said, “I simply stopped doing everything that wasn’t essential, that didn’t matter. What was important became even more important and the unimportant became even more unimportant.” Then the story got truly amazing. A few months passed, and Fred found out he had been misdiagnosed. He did have a rare disease; but it was, in fact, curable! When the doctor delivered the good news, Fred said he cried like a baby…but not for the reasons you are probably thinking. Fred said he cried because, “I was afraid my life would go back to the way it used to be.” Fred had made an amazing discovery. When you begin to live like you are dying, you can’t live the same way you used to. Your focus gets laser-sharp on what is truly important.
Have you ever heard of a Bucket List? It is a list of things you want to do before you die…or “kick the bucket.” Most of us probably have such a list. It may not be organized or written down, but we all have things we would like to do or experience before our life on earth ends. Perhaps it’s to travel somewhere, meet someone, or have some particular experience. There are all kinds of choices. In fact, you can go online to bucketlist.org and view a list of 5,666,684 different things you can choose from to do before you die.
It is important to understand, however, that there is a difference between the things you want to do before you die and the things you should do before you die. The first involves making the most of this temporary life, and the second means being ready for the next life…the life that is eternal. Matthew 6:19-20 warns us to make sure we are using this life to prepare for the next one. Jesus reminds His followers to store up treasures in heaven – meaning eternal ones – that cannot be destroyed or stolen.
In a world that is all about the here and now, this message is more needed than ever. Jesus isn’t saying we shouldn’t enjoy this life, but rather that true joy and fulfillment will always reap an eternal harvest. So that Bucket List…it’s not the goal. Christ is the goal. Christ is the prize. As His followers, we should live every day like there will be no tomorrow…like Fred learned to live. If we have this mentality, we will spend our lives preparing to meet Jesus, which will result in a life spent on what matters most.
God, help me to live today as if it is my last. May my life bring honor and glory to Your Name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.