Tuesday, January 29, 2013


You only live once. That is the motto of the world right now. “Give me all you've got tonight, 'cause we might not get tomorrow.” It's a sad refrain. In the heat of the moment, people make decisions that will ruin their lives later on, and they write it off as making the best of today in case they die tomorrow. It's not a new way of thinking. “Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” used to be a very popular saying that is derived from a couple different biblical texts.

Christians have had a strong response to this new labeling of an old theme. We've said you shouldn't make rash choices, that you really live twice (this world and the next), and that to say and live YOLO is to undervalue yourself.

But what if the world has the right idea? Now before you stone me, let me explain. Ultimately, YOLO is about making the most of today. Now, the world's definition of “making the most” should be far different from ours, but what's wrong with living like today could be our last? We have one chance on this earth, one, and the Bible says it is a vapor. We have one shot to live as agents for Christ in this world. I think the majority of Western Christians are too careful. Why don't we take more risks for our Lord? We are terrified of what people will think of us, afraid of rejection. We have careers and reputations to uphold, and what if risking it all ended in losing it all? What would we do? How would we live? But God promises that He will take care of us. He knows when each sparrow falls, and we are more precious to Him than many sparrows.

The apostle Paul writes to the Philippian church, “...my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing shall I now be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” All that mattered to Paul was that Christ was visibly evident in his words and actions. Not only did he not care whether he had much or little to live on (Philippians 4:12), whether his life ended or continued wasn't even a source of concern or worry. And lest you think that, 'Well, that's just dandy for Paul. He lived in the first century and probably didn't have much to lose in the first place,' let me remind of you his life and accomplishments up until Jesus knocked him off his horse on the road to Damascus. “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” He had it made. But he gave it all up. He saw that Christ was a worthy cause and he only had one life to give. He understood YOLO at its finest.

So what does that mean for us? Obviously we shouldn't all become tent-makers and sail the Mediterranean, but I'm sure we could all rearrange our priorities a little, myself included. What are some things that really aren't as important as we make them out to be? What would you do for the Kingdom of God if today really was your last? Remember, you only live once.