A lot of people have what they call a bucket list, a list of things they want to accomplish during their lives. If you are a Christian you don’t need to make a bucket list; God has already made one for you.
The Bible tells us that we are saved by God’s grace and not by anything we do.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
We are not saved by our works but we are saved to do the work that God has assigned us.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
In other words, God has prepared for each of us a bucket list of things that he wants us to accomplish during our life.
There have been many times when I have failed to do the work that God has given to me, and I am certain that that is true of others. We need to ask ourselves whether our failure prevents God from accomplishing the work he meant to do through us. The answer to that question is found in the book of Esther. God allowed Esther to become queen of Persia. When an official named Haman plotted to destroy the Jews Esther’s cousin Mordecai told Esther she needed to go to the king and ask for his help. When she expressed fear about doing this, here was what Mordecai said to her.
Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:13,14)
If we fail to do what God wants us to do, that work will be done by someone else, but we will suffer for our failure to obey. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes what that suffering will consist of.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.
Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
Our salvation is the result of God’s grace and not the result of anything we do. If we are not faithful in service we won’t lose our salvation, but we will lose the reward we could have gotten.
Your bucket list
Some people make a bucket list, a list of things they want to do before they die. The name comes from the expression “kick the bucket”, a slang expression for dying.
If you are a Christian you don’t need to make a bucket list. God has already made one for you.
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The purpose of these works isn’t to achieve salvation. Salvation is a gift that God gives us by his grace and we receive it by faith.
By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
We aren’t saved by our works but one of the reasons we are saved is to serve God by carrying out the work he has given us to do.