Although not particularly Christian, ‘you only live once’ does have some truth to it.
In a culture where time is money and where we can have what we want in an instant, we often find ourselves thinking about what we can’t have at the moment… and we look to the future wishfully. Most employees work for the weekend, always consoling themselves that they only have (count it off) three…two…one more days until Saturday. Young kids are always wishing they can be adults so they can have the ‘freedom’ to do (catch it) ‘anything’ they want. High-schoolers are always wishing to be done with highschool and get into college. Single people always are longing for a partner. Working adults long for better jobs. The list goes on, and on, even about minute things such as a better set of headphones. Why? Why do people live for the future, always longing for the next big event, or the next day, or the next big thing? The reason is because we compare things. We compare what our circumstances could be and what they really are. This is because we have a natural tendency to be greedy and jealous for what we don’t have. It’s because we want it NOW.
However, longing for the future to the degree that we dislike, and are ungrateful for, the present (and everything in it) is a very unbiblical thing. We are called to live in the moment, no matter how distasteful the job, schoolwork, or consequence.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (New International Version. Colossians 3:23-24)
Many people wonder what their purpose in life is. They think of the big things they might be destined to do, or rather what God has planned for them to do. We want those things to happen now…but we don’t realize that what we do NOW will help us later so that we can do those big things later. You see, God calls us to do everything to the best of our abilities with an attitude that is pleasing to God. We need to strive for excellence in everything things though they may seem small. In reward for being faithful with small things, God will put us in charge of big things. But with this promise comes a warning: those who are not faithful with a few things will have everything taken away.
21b‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things….29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (New International Version. Matthew 25:21b, 29)
Further, if we are constantly looking forward, we will never be content in the present, no matter how desirable it is. When that big event comes, we will not be content with it. We will begin to wish for the next one. We will constantly keep looking forward without ever looking around. This is a dangerous mindset.
As Christians, we need to live in the NOW! We need to take advantage of every opportunity, every day. This seems daunting, and it should. But by the grace of God we can seize the day. Carpe Diem. The Latin word for YOLO.