Don’t laugh – but, yeah, those are just some of the things on my proverbial bucket-list. And no, I’m not quite done yet.
When I read a book set in Spain, I want to eat perfectly-proportioned tapas under the starry night sky in Madrid.
When I watch a video about a selfless woman who raises orphaned kids in Africa, I’m inspired to do something similar before I kick the bucket.
When I skim through articles about vineyards in Italy, I want to set up a little picnic under bowers heavy with grapes, complete with a red-checked picnic blanket, some really good cheese and the love of my life.
Okay, fine, you can laugh now, if you’d like.
In the last (ahem, cough, cough) forty years I’ve called this planet home, I’ve had the privilege of visiting some incredibly awe-inspiring locations, from the snow-covered Himalayas to the gaping, orange-red vastness of the Grand Canyon.
At the end of these travels, I have to ask myself: can my bucket list become something more significant?
I don’t want to discount beauty that makes us stop in our tracks. I don’t want to belittle the exhilarating experiences that jolt us out of our complacency. But I do want to take our bucket lists to a place where they morph into treasure lists.
In the words of John Piper, “every good thing that gives us pleasure should be an instance of delighting in God."
When we experience untold beauty, perhaps it can be an opportunity to lift up our hearts in adoration.
When I stand awe-struck by the grandeur of the Himalayas, I am reminded of just how magnificent God is. (Psalm 19: 1)
When I see the golds and bronzes and ruby reds of Fall, I delight in His creative palette. (Psalm 95: 3-5)
When I catch sight of the fins of a humpback whale, I utter an inarticulate thank you to the God who thought up such a massively magnificent creature. (Psalm 104: 24-25)
When I visit cathedrals and churches built for His glory, I can't help but experience the deep sacredness of being in His presence.
When I soar above the ocean, parasailing with my heart in my mouth, I remember that He is a God who carries me on His wings. (Exodus 19:4)
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father (John 1:17). It’s up to us to receive those gifts with a heart of gratitude and turn them into an “occasion of worship.” (again, John Piper's words)
Our blessings gain significance only when we understand that we are not merely #blessed, but recognise Who we are blessed by, and then direct our praise to Him.
Let’s use those jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime experiences as a vantage point to view more of God’s glory and splendour. Let’s turn our bucket lists into treasure lists. We treasure Him more and more through our joyful experiences.
And while we wait for those bucket-list experiences, let’s not hold our breath. Because we have a God who is breath-taking in His beauty. Even in the ordinary and the every day, you and I can seek Him and find Him. And there lies our hearts’ greatest treasure.