The Lord said to me, “At the end of each day bring me all your thoughts from that day in a bucket. This will be your test of how much you have of heaven.”
I found a small bucket, but before the end of the first day I needed more than one. Little did I realize how many thoughts one mind could have in a single day. With three small buckets I approached God’s throne. He sifted through my buckets, asking where I had gotten each thought.
In reply I answered, “That one from a book; that one from a magazine; that one from a friend.” Others I tried to remember, but didn’t know how they got there.
“There’s not much here of heaven ~ a few words of prayer for a friend, but not much else.” He said.
As I returned home I wondered why there were no more thoughts of heaven in my buckets that day. I decided that I would do better, and have some thoughts the next day that would please God.
I found a larger bucket the next morning and set about to collect what I thought God wanted. Looking in the library I came across the writings of the great philosophers. As I diligently searched through these I could see the Lord’s pleasure; my bucket was filling up. I felt so good about my new thoughts and myself. Then, I went to talk to a friend ~ who had a brilliant mind and a PHD in science and physics. Before the day was over my bucket was almost full. Let’s see ~ what else can I put in my bucket? There’s an excellent movie playing at the local theater ~ one destined for an academy award. And it was a wonderful movie. My bucket was full.
Well, how did I do today, Lord.”
“You have really been busy,” He said, as He examined the contents, “But I find nothing here of heaven, not even a prayer.”
“If this isn’t part of heaven, what is all this that I thought was so good.” I asked.
“It’s all of the world, dear.” I’ll see you again, tomorrow.”
That night before bed I knelt and acknowledged that I didn’t know what He wanted, but I would try harder tomorrow.
The first thought the next morning was that, perhaps the bucket itself was all wrong. Maybe it attracts the wrong thoughts. So I set out to find the best and biggest bucket I could find for that day’s thoughts. I found the perfect one ~ advertised as the one “that you need for your best thoughts” ~ quite expensive, too, but knowing that this would be what God was looking for, it was worth the price.
But that day dragged on without success. And becoming depressed about what I should have in my bucket, my tears began to fill the bucket. It was almost too heavy as I carried it ~ and it became heavier as I continued crying. The way seemed longer that day, but the closer I came the lighter the bucket seemed.
As I reached God’s throne of grace He smiled, and said, “Seems that you have sprung a leak in that expensive bucket.”
“Why can you smile, Lord, when I feel so terrible ~ and look~ after I searched all day my bucket is empty?”
“I can smile, my child, because you have finally discovered the secret. No bucket in the world will attract and contain the things of heaven. As the creator and ruler of my kingdom, I have determined the kind of receptacle you need, and the thoughts that will fill it.”
As I bowed before Him I asked for this vessel and His knowledge of heavenly things. I submitted, as He said I must, my bucket and all my human efforts of pleasing Him.
He gave me a “new heart and a new spirit” that only “seeks His kingdom and His righteousness,” and makes me continually aware of His presence, spreading His love of Jesus in and through me. Through His Word and prayer, morning by morning He wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. Isaiah 50:4
“By His mercies” each morning “I present myself’” to Him to be “filled with His fullness” all day ~ no longer “conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of my mind. His thoughts are kept and “obeyed” in my heart and life as He keeps me by His own power.
His kingdom is coming and His will is being done, in me, as it is in heaven.
“And the God of peace ….
make you perfect in all things….
working in you that which is pleasing in His sight
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever. Amen.”