A Prayer for Living by the Gospel Agenda, not a Bucket List
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Heavenly Father, you haven’t made us for “fifteen minutes in the spotlight,” but for an eternity of glorifying you and enjoying you forever. As this day begins, I praise you for such a hope and future—a future that’s already begun for us in Jesus. Eternal life began for us the day you “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 2:6)—to the praise of your glorious grace (Eph. 1:6).
Yet, Father, these verses in James remind me that our lifespan in this body isn’t very long at all. We’re more like a brief mist than an artesian spring; more like a mushroom than springs up overnight slow growing moss; more like a morning glory than a rose bush. I aware of the brevity of my life more than ever, and I’m both sobered and gladdened by the thought.
Father, how would you have me spend the rest of my “misty moment”? Only you know when I’ll “vanish” from this body—when I’ll draw my last breath and gain my first unfiltered glimpse of Jesus. Only you know what’ll happen tomorrow—in my heart and home, in Bermuda, Bangkok and Burma. I’ll keep on planning, but it’s you who orders my steps—for which I am most thankful (Prov. 16:9).
In light of the gospel, what should I spend more time doing and less time doing? What have I been putting off that really matters to you? With whom do I need to spend more face-to-face and heart-to-heart time?
Who am I still holding hostage by the chains of my unforgiveness and bitterness? What am I allowing to bug me that isn’t all that “bug-worthy”? Where should I invest more of your money and less of my worries?
Keep showing me the difference between the good and the best; the difference between the urgent and the necessary; the difference between living a called life and a driven life.
Father, I praise you that I’m not going to merit any more of your affection by doing a better job with any of these things; and you’re certainly not calling me to fall into the paralysis of analysis. None of these questions has a scorecard attached to it. It’s Jesus’ performance and record I boast in; but your grace calls me to ask the right questions and it frees me to live a more intentional gospel-driven life.
I don’t plan on making a “bucket list”; for there’s no bucket to kick. Jesus kicked death’s derriere—he defeated death and robbed the grave of its victory… glory! I simply want to live in your story, to your glory with all the joy you can cram into this little heart of mine. So very Amen I pray. in Jesus’ matchless and magnificent name.