The folly of man is that he lives as if he will not die. He forgets that he has had a humble beginning and, despite all appearances now, he will have a humble end. He thrives upon the illusion of his invincibility and the unreality of his perpetuity.
It is as if we are awakened in the middle of the story. In vain, we refuse to acknowledge the Author and the ending which He has already written for us. We willfully ignore that what has become will someday cease to be. To live as if this is not true is madness and yet that is the pattern of mankind. And so we live, senselessly, in the middle. We dance along the edges of our mortality as if death was not one misstep away. We are like people on a journey who have forgotten our purpose and destination, riding hard to nowhere. Such a journey could only be meaningless.
Living for Today
In light of this, some live only for the present. If the future is uncertain at best and complete oblivion at worst, then the only option is to get the most out of now. Just listen to any current pop song and you get this philosophy. It could fall under the titles of Epicureanism or hedonism. Yesterday is already gone and tomorrow may never come so we had better get all we can out of life today.
The Apostle Paul understood this. He said, “if the dead are not raised, eat, drink, and be merry–for tomorrow we die!” (1Corinthians 15:32) If we have emerged from oblivion and will someday disappear back into oblivion, then all that lies between is for naught. Life begun by random chance and with no end or purpose is meaningless. All we can do is (meaninglessly) soak up the pleasures of today.
Living for the Unattainable Day
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
Many, and I would say most, take a different approach. They have no real sense of their origin or final destination and yet they, incoherently, live as if their lives still have purpose. Ignoring the fact that unless there is an end to it all, it can be worth nothing, they work. They strive. For money perhaps. Or fame. Or power.
They live for a future day, a day when they will have finally gained enough money, enough success, enough pleasure. However, it is a day that will never come because they will never have enough. Enough money will always be the next thousand or the next million. Enough success will always be the next achievement. Enough pleasure will always be the next rush. They are consumed by a thirst that cannot be quenched. They live for an unattainable day. The destination of their journey is always just out of reach and so, all their striving of the days in between is vain and meaningless.
Living for a Different Day
“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18).
Christians, on the other hand, are consumed by passion for a Day that is long past and a hope for a Day that is yet to come. We live in light of a Past Day on which Christ was raised from the grave, defeating sin and death in order to dispense grace and life. This is the Day which has launched us into a race and has guaranteed for us a definite and attainable finish line: the Eternal Day of life with God.
Strangely enough, this obsession with a past and future day is the only way to render all the days in between meaningful. Every step of a a journey is purposeful only when it has begun somewhere and will end somewhere. My life now, today matters not because it is all that I have to live for but precisely because it is not all I have to live for. My life tomorrow, should it come, matters not because of an unfounded hope that it will bring me fulfillment, but because it brings me one step closer to that which I am certain of, but have not seen and that hope which I am already assured of and which already fulfills me. We are like Abraham who by faith, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). We are like the heroes of the faith who “were longing for a better country–a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
So, living in light of a Day long past and for a Day that has yet to come, all our days in between are enriched with meaning and purpose. We live in the middle of a journey, but we are sensible, of the glory from which our eternal life has sprung and the glory for which our eternal life is bound. We do not run aimlessly, but we know our destination and we know that is real and attainable. Indeed, it has already been attained for us. For as surely as Christ has been raised from the dead on that Day long ago, the Day is coming when Christ will return and all who have trusted in His resurrection will dwell with Him forever. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The dwelling place of God will be with men. “They will be his people, and God himself will be their god. He will wipe every tear from their eyes,. There will be no more death or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:3-4). For He who is seated on the throne is making all things new (Revelation 21:5).
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealedLiving, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net%5D
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine
Oh, glorious day