“God's List” • We have many lists that detail a genealogy of someone in the Old Testament or Jesus (Matthew 1), we find lists of the faithful (Hebrews 11), moral qualities (2 Peter 1:5-11), or sins (Romans 1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and various lists of all the great things that God has done for His people (Psalm 106; 135).
“God's List” • Before we put on our list various places we would like to visit or things we might want to experience, it would be wise to take a look at a list that the Creator put together. • For example, compare God's list with the "The Bucket List":
Qualities To Grow In My Heart The Bucket List Galatians 5:22-24 Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-Control Witness something truly majesticHelp a complete stranger … for common goodLaugh till I cryDrive a Shelby MustangKiss the most beautiful girl… in the worldGo SkydivingSee the PyramidsVisit Stonehenge/Rome/The Louvre Get back in Touch (Hunt the Big Cat)
“The Wisdom of God's List” • Instead of giving us a list of cool places to see or things to do, God gives us the essential qualities we need our character so that we can actually enjoy whatever we do or wherever we travel. • The vast majority of our experiences and travels are not to famous or exotic places; rather most of life is experienced in the ordinary and daily events of living.
“The Wisdom of God's List” • God not only tells us what should be in our lives, He also gives us a list of things that we should remove from our lives (Galatians 5:19-21), and thus God's list will perfectly fit everyone.
A List Of Obligations To Be Fulfilled • One common mistake when writing a “bucket" list is that such lists tend to focus on the individual making the list, and forget about everyone else. • May I suggest that our list needs to include not just ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4). • Paul had definite future goals, one was to visit Rome and preach the gospel in that city (Romans 1:15; 15:23-24). • "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish" (vs14).
A List Of Obligations To Be Fulfilled • Getting serious about fulfilling obligations very early in life (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10; 12:1) is essential because we are all mortal men and women; all of us have an expiration date (Hebrews 9:27), and a limited amount of time to do it.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Parents • Obeying them with honor, that is, with a respectful and positive attitude (Ephesians 6:1-2), which includes trying to make it easier for them to parent. • Taking care of them in their old age. • Remembering the family stories they taught me, and remembering the cost they have paid in becoming and remaining a faithful Christian.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Parents • Being a faithful guardian of the family history, especially, the spiritual history. • Remaining faithful so that I can bring them joy in their later years, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth" (3 John 4).
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to a Spouse • Being a happy husband or wife (Ecclesiastes 9:10). • Being the husband or wife that I promised to be (Ecclesiastes 5:4,6 "When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow... Do not say in the presence of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?").
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to a Spouse • Remaining a faithful Christian and helping them stay faithful (1 Peter 3:7). • Listening carefully when they talk about their hopes and dreams and doing what we can to make some of those dreams come true.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Siblings • Being a good example to my brothers/sisters. • Keeping the family close during the years at home and especially keeping the family close after mom and dad are gone. • Bringing our children up in the discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) so that all the cousins have a common faith (Jude 3), and so that family reunions are times of spiritual refreshing and edification.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Myself • I need to save myself! (1 Tim. 4:16) • When others ask us how to overcome a similar situation, we need to have a practical, useful, and detailed answer. We need to have a strategy that we can hand to the next generation. This would include: • (1) Accepting the fact that sin never keeps me happy. • (2) Temptation is always a lie.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Myself • (3) I have needs that only God can fulfill. • (4) All I have to worry about is overcoming this sin "today". • (5) There is always a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). • (6) My desires are not too strong; rather, they are too weak.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled • Focusing on the spiritual growth that I still need to achieve, and identifying those areas in which I presently am lacking. • This list would include not only what I still need to add (diligence, faith, knowledge, virtue, self-control, brotherly love, love: 2 Peter 1:5-11), but also what I need to finally remove (immorality, impurity, evil passions, greed, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech: Colossians 3:5-9).
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to the Lost • Make a list of places where you want to evangelize. • Think of a fresh approach to reach a friend that needs saving, or an old friend of the family, or old acquaintances that helped you in years past.
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to Future Generations • Take the time to write a list of vital lessons that you need to impart to your children. This could include lessons about what really makes a person happy, the value of service and sacrifice, the evidence for God's existence and the integrity of the biblical text. • Letters about your life, the lessons that you learned, the things that you prayed for…
Obligations To Be Fulfilled Obligations to God • To sum it up, to be useful to Him: "Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:21).
Conclusion • “Are we striving for the essential qualities we need for our, so that we can actually enjoy whatever we do or wherever we travel?” • “Are we removing the list of things that God told us to remove from our lives (Galatians 5:19-21)?” • Are we fulfilling our obligations?