Stop for a minute. Take a look around you. Maybe take a look in the mirror. What do you see? People are chasing something, aren’t they? We all are seeking something. I see so many people chasing the “American dream.” Single people are looking for someone they can settle down with. Married folks are looking for that house to start a family in or are looking to have a kid. Some people are looking for a job to afford that car, ring, house or kid. You might see some people who are not looking towards the future but instead are looking to only live for today. They want to party hard today because “today is all that matters.”
I hear people say “YOLO” or “You only live once.” Yet I see them (us) all heading towards the same things. We’re competing for a job, a house, a kid, a car, enough money so that we can retire or we’re partying hard because as people say “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting a family, house or car or even in wanting to live today to the fullest. However, even as Christians I see us all on this rat race. We’ve got a mental checklist to help us achieve the “American dream.” We’ve got a mental scale we’re looking to set off to determine if a night was “fun” or not.
Yet I look around and I see many Christians who are living with little or no joy. We’re all so caught up in our goals and mental checklists that we’ve lost all happiness or appetite for this moment right now. We’re either trying so hard to make it to the next rung on the ladder or to make tonight the “best night of our lives” that we’re secretly depressed on the inside. Maybe your checklist isn’t working out. Even as a Christian you might have other checklists that you think will make you reach some kind of superhuman Christian where you will somehow be more holy, more joyful or more like Jesus. If only you could get that next check mark accomplished in your life!
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
You see Paul didn’t have a checklist. He didn’t have a “to do” list or a “to be” list. He was not living worried about tomorrow. His only goal was to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. His only passion was the gospel. His only thought was the gospel. His greatest care was that people would get a chance to hear the gospel. So if his goal was to just preach the gospel, doesn’t that mean he had a bit of a checklist? Wasn’t he running a race too even if it was a different race? This thought crossed my mind but listen to what Paul says…
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:18-21)
You see Paul was in prison. He could do almost nothing. He was at the very least on house arrest and at the worst he was in a dark and disgusting cell with rats and disease. He could talk to almost no one. He could share the gospel with almost nobody. His mission had been side-tracked. He was a man of action and he was trapped in jail. But notice he is rejoicing because the gospel is going forth (even though not by his own mouth). He is not even concerned whether he will live or die.
He is not concerned about his own life or his own checklists because his life belongs to Jesus. His life is not his own. He was bought with a price. (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20) He knew that God would take care of him. (see Phil. 4:11-13) He didn’t even care about whether he would live or die. (see Phil. 1:21) Paul was not worried about anything. (see Phil. 4:6)
So I say to you “Carpe Diem!” (Seize the day!) Live this day to the fullest enjoying what God has given you this day! Do not be concerned, anxious or worried about what tomorrow will bring. Live boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus to anyone you come across! Pray that God will open doors for you to share the Gospel today! Rejoice in God’s mercies and blessings that He has showered down on you this day! Throw the checklist away and forget about trying to “live it up” this evening. Just enjoy each moment and rest in the arms of a loving God today. Enjoy His creation! Be silly or goofy and let your hair down! Stop caring what other people think! Don’t waste another second being bored or spending your time worried about how to move up in life. Live for Jesus and stop worrying about the sin and evil in the world. Please don’t sit on your porch and gripe about the way things used to be. Live for Jesus today! Share the Gospel with someone today! You only live on this earth once so love the people God has created in His image, breathe the free air God has provided, dance for Jesus without care, close your eyes and feel God’s pleasure and stop running the rat race. If you’re gonna give your attention to something let it be to find joy in the little things EACH and EVERY day. If you’re gonna pursue something in this life don’t let it be the American dream but rather to see that each and every person God has put in your path has heard the Gospel of Jesus!