It seems that everyone past fifty is supposed to start developing a “bucket list”— all the things they’d like to do before they kick the bucket. I have never had any interest at all in doing this, and I finally figured out why. The way my mind works, every time I check off one of my dreams as “Done,” I’m another step closer to death. Why would I want to remind myself of that? And imagine what it would be like when I check off the last item on my bucket list. Would that seem like a great accomplishment? “I’ve done it all, and now I can die a success.” No thanks; I’m in no hurry.

Jesus had only three years to do everything on his list. He called, taught, and trained twelve key disciples, gave stirring speeches about the heart of God the Father and healed many people from physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, all within an area of no more than 200 square miles. As the frenetic pace of his ministry picked up, there were times when large crowds gathered in desert areas to hear his life-changing words.

On one occasion, about five thousand people were sitting on the grass as he taught. He challenged his disciples to come up with some food for their nourishment. All they could find was a young boy with his lunch, five small barley buns and two dried fish in a basket.

“Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.” (John 6:11-13)

So, here’s my strategy . . . I’m going to give Jesus what’s left in my basket (bucket?) and see if he’s still into miracles of multiplication. I’ll just go on trying to help other people hear and understand his message as long as I can. I don’t know how he’s going to pull it off, but I expect there will still be at least twelve buckets of crumbs for me to nibble on.

I’m going to trust that he has a better bucket list for me than whatever I would come up with.

— Pastor George Van Alstine