This past Sunday, The New York Times published an article by David Brooks called “The Moral Bucket List.”
Let the title sink in. The moral bucket list…what a concept!!
Normally, when we think of a bucket list, we are dreaming of the many things we would like to accomplish before we say goodbye to life. Brooks instead discusses a deeper, selfless goal of developing inner character that asks what the world needs from us, not what we need from the world.
Fascinating – tell me more!
It goes back to choosing joy versus chasing after happiness. Joy is a manifestation of God’s work in us and through us, where happiness is the pursuit of money, success, ambitious quests, notoriety, pleasure and so on.
The moral bucket list places the focus on being grateful for the day we have been given and doing something to make the world a better place, all the while keeping our raging, selfish ego out of the mix.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1John 2:15-17
Brooks doesn’t mention God or Jesus in his article, but I think as Christians we can learn from his idea of creating and improving a generosity of spirit within us because this is very much what God wants from us.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
The moral bucket list takes us from self-centeredness to placing others before our own wants, needs, and desires.
Place God above all and create a moral bucket list handed down by Him and you’ve got a recipe for a God-filled, God-approved life.
Brooks comments regarding “resume virtues” opposed to “eulogy virtues” hits the mark when planning out our lives, days, attitudes and accomplishments.
The “resume virtues” is our long list of activities that bring us the glory and self-satisfaction that the world tells us is so important.
In contrast, the “eulogy virtues” are the deeds that make the world a better place because we were in it. These are the endeavors of a generous and grateful spirit that live like Jesus did and asks us to, as well.
Like Brooks alludes to, it is so sad that we don’t work more diligently towards improving these “eulogy virtues.”
However, God does encourage us to cultivate these important qualities that foster true joy instead of leaving us with an empty shell filled with anger, hate, disappointment and discontent.
In fact, God implores us to:
- Visit orphans and widows
- Keep ourselves unstained from the world.
- Do not be haughty.
- Do not set our hopes on the uncertainty of wealth.
- Do good and be rich in good works.
- Be generous and ready to share.
- Do not be captivated by philosophy and empty deceit.
- Be on guard against all covetousness.
- Do not love the world or the things in the world.
- Love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
Our moral bucket list should be filled with God’s portion, for He is sufficient.
What’s on your moral bucket list?
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 22:9 – Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.