Bob Tamasy: How’s Your ‘Bucket List’ Coming?

Monday, February 18, 2019 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

One of my favorite films, especially having reached “senior years,” is “The Bucket List,” about two aging men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) with one thing in common. They’re both coping with terminal cancer. After striking up an unlikely friendship, they develop a mutual “bucket list” – things to accomplish before they “kick the bucket.” The film watches them check items off the list.

I’ve never compiled an actual bucket list, but have had the pleasure of accomplishing lots of things I would have put on it, had I bothered to compile one. There are the obvious choices, like finding a loving wife, along having great kids and grandkids; a rewarding career that I have considered successful; and finding meaning and purpose in life, which have largely come through my faith.

Then there are more discretionary items I would have included and then checked off my imaginary bucket list, like seeing the Grand Canyon (twice); visiting Disney World (multiple times); traveling outside the USA (again, a number of times); meeting some famous people (including Archie Griffin, Woody Hayes, Jack Nicklaus, Jesse Owens – are you seeing a Scarlet and Gray trend here?); and helping people along their spiritual journey.

But two things I’ve never wanted to include on a bucket list are running in a marathon and competing in a triathlon, basically a marathon plus water and a bicycle. I’m more anchor than swimmer, so triathlons were scratched off the list before they could be added. And frankly, I’d never be willing to commit to the time and effort required to do either.

You don’t just bounce out of bed one morning and declare, “I’m running a marathon (or doing a triathlon) today!” They take months of preparation, mentally as well as physically. It takes incredible determination and discipline, training whether you feel like it or not, being willing to forgo eating the wrong foods, and maintaining a mindset that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

Then again, from a spiritual perspective my life for the past 40-plus years has amounted to a real-life, every day marathon. It’s been said so often it’s become a cliché, but it’s true: The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. At times you might find yourself going a bit faster and the course seems smooth; at other times the path gets extremely rough and you’re coming almost to a halt, maybe even taking steps backward. But with God’s strength and relying on His grace, you keep moving.

The apostle Paul liked metaphors of athletic sacrifice and the long-distance run. Writing to believers in the church at the Greek city of Philippi, he said, “…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Just as marathon runners midway through a race don’t dwell on what they were doing at the three-mile mark, in our spiritual lives we also must be willing to forget our failings, the “woulda’s, coulda’s and shoulda’s” of our lives, and concentrate on where we are presently in our walk with the Lord and where we believe He wants us to go.

Among the most heartening scenes during any marathon or triathlon is the crowd lined up throughout the route, some folks cheering on friends and family members, others providing refreshment as competitors continue along the way. It must be tremendously encouraging for runners to know they’re not alone.

The Bible says the same about our spiritual journey: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

I’m not certain exactly who this “cloud of witnesses” consists of, whether it means fellow believers we encounter from day to day or perhaps, those who have already gone passed from this life. In any event, isn’t it great to know we have “cheerleaders” exhorting us? “Keep it up!” “Don’t give up!” “You can do this!” “The Lord is with you!”

One day each of us will reach the end of our personal marathon. In a final letter to Timothy, his young protégé, Paul also wrote, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and he time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7). The apostle, nearing the end of his earthly life and ministry, felt confident of finishing well. Having endured great opposition, adversity and near-death experiences, he could at last see the race’s end.

How did Paul succeed in doing this? I think we find the answer in another book; we don’t know its author for sure, but it must have reflected his motivation: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Finishing well in your marathon of faith: Is that on your bucket list? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus?

- - - -

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


"I Need Some Time" Continues Sunday At Metro Tab Church

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist To Host Graduation Lunch Celebration And Fashion Show May 25

Bob Tamasy: When Asking Isn’t A Risk


The series "I Need Some Time" continues Sunday at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church with worship at 10:30 a.m. The message will be brought by Dr. Steve Ball the founder and senior pastor. Come ... (click for more)

Graduates, scholarship recipients and their parents are joining the Women in Ministry at Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, May 25 at noon to be entertained while celebrating ... (click for more)

Have you ever seen one of those public marriage proposals at an athletic contest, when some guy in the stands arranges to have the camera trained on him and his lady love when he decides to drop ... (click for more)


Church

"I Need Some Time" Continues Sunday At Metro Tab Church

The series "I Need Some Time" continues Sunday at Metropolitan Tabernacle Church with worship at 10:30 a.m. The message will be brought by Dr. Steve Ball the founder and senior pastor. Come early at 10 a.m. and enjoy coffee and breakfast bars with the pastoral staff. Music will led by Worship Pastors Adam and Olivia Aziz along with the Metro Praise Team, choir and band. ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist To Host Graduation Lunch Celebration And Fashion Show May 25

Graduates, scholarship recipients and their parents are joining the Women in Ministry at Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, May 25 at noon to be entertained while celebrating their graduation. A lunch will be served, and guests can mix and mingle with other graduates from other schools and colleges. "You will be entertained in a relaxed atmosphere ... (click for more)

Breaking News

4 People Shot At 2 Hixson Locations; 2 Killed On Ardis Lane; 2 Men Shot At Northgate Crossing Apartments In Hixson

Four men were shot in two overnight shootings in Hixson. Two people were shot and killed on Ardis Lane. At approximately 10:07 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the 6700 block of Ardis Lane on a report of persons shot. Upon arrival, police located two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Hamilton County EMS responded and pronounced Kirtus Thompson, 27, deceased on ... (click for more)

Greg Vital Says Ancient Stone Cairns, Part Trail Of Tears Route Found On His Meigs Farm; Asks TVA To Reroute Project Viper Transmission Line

Lawyers for Georgetown property owner Greg Vital notified the Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday that a second archaeological study of the site found 15 different Native American artifacts, not one, as TVA said in its official report in April. “There are 14 more historically significant cairns in a distinguishable pattern within a hundred yards of what TVA said was the only ... (click for more)

Opinion

Chattanooga's Shooting Epidemic

These shootings continue and something has to be done to try and stop them whether they are domestic, robbery or gang related. We obviously can not remove these handguns from every man, woman and child. I suggest that merchants that sell handguns raise the minimum age to 21 years for the purchase of handgun ammunition only. This 21 age requirement would not include ammunition ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Casada Is Through

Sometime this afternoon, the Republican members of the Tennessee Legislature will join a growing chorus of those convinced it is time for Glen Casada, the group’s Speaker of the House, to step down. They will cite several tawdry emails between Casada’s former Chief of Staff and himself as the reason but that’s not entirely true. Casada will step down in great shame because he has ... (click for more)