“Carpe diem.” “Live life to the fullest.” “Make every moment count.” “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
Phrases like these surround us, pushing and prodding us to squeeze the most out of every moment. Like a dangerous undertow, these thoughts have the power to drag us into the depths of worldliness, swept away by cultural tides and currents. When our hope rests in temporal pleasures and earthly gains, it naturally overflows into a life of self-centered living. Get more. Be more. Do more. Make your own rules and follow your heart.
Behind this type of thinking is the belief that this life is short and time is running out. An absent awareness of eternity leads to fearful daily living. We fear missing out on relationships, experiences, and enjoyments, so we rush along with the tide, seeking more and more from the things of the earth. When our pursuits fail to produce the happiness we are longing for, we simply go on to the next thing. We know we are thirsty, but the more we seek refreshment, the more we find ourselves weary and worn.
We are like a woman standing by the ocean, desperate for a drink. In an attempt to alleviate her thirst, she consumes the water before her. By doing so, she finds herself increasingly thirsty. If she continues to drink, she will ultimately die. While the ocean is good, beautiful, and enjoyable, it is unable to quench her thirst. It is unable to satisfy because it was not created to do so.
One medieval writer explained:
You cannot find complete satisfaction in any temporal gift, because you were not created to find your delight in them. Even if you possessed all the good things God has created, you could not feel happy and glad; all your gladness and happiness rest in the God who created those things.
When we live a life focused on temporary pleasures, we can only expect temporary happiness. In contrast, by living for that which is eternal, we find purpose and joy in our daily life. We have a home that is waiting and an inheritance coming. It’s imperishable, unfading, and undefiled. It’s safe. Therefore, Peter tells us, “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). We can put all our eggs in this basket, with no fear. Christ’s resurrection secures our future. If we are in Him, then one day we shall “bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor. 15:49).
Knowing that we have an eternity before us changes everything about how we live today. We seek to glorify God in all that we do. We seize the day to share with others the grace that is to come. We live life to the full, abounding in the work of the Lord because we know it isn’t in vain. We make the most of every moment as we actively store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy. As living sacrifices, we experience the truth of Jesus’ words, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).