This Latin phrase means “seize the day,” and it certainly echoes a valid objective. We do need to seize each day, because we don’t know whether tomorrow will come or just how much of this life remains for us.
But what if we did? Imagine if a clock on the bottom of one foot digitally displayed how many days remained before we died. Theologian Francis Schaeffer put it another way: “Life is like a clock with no hands. It’s ticking but you never know when it’s going to strike midnight.”
What a sobering thought—for those living in the 1st century or the 21st century. Despite all of our advances in safety measures, in both industry and transportation, and all of our progress in the medical field, life still maintains a measure of unpredictability for us today. Accidents still happen, and people still suffer from strokes and coronary artery disease, often seemingly out of the blue. Nearly everyone has a story to tell regarding a friend, family member or coworker who has experienced something like this.
The 1st century disciples asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). In the midst of his teaching, Jesus replied, “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).
In a way, Jesus urges his followers to “seize the day” because no one knows when he will return. But we do know that each of us will come face-to-face with Jesus and give an account of how we have lived for him. Each of us in large measure determines how that encounter will go.
Jesus wants us to be ready no matter when he returns—to be “faithful and wise” servants (Matthew 24:45). Who are the faithful and wise servants? Those who are ready—those whom the Master finds doing his will when he returns.
Recommended Reading: Proverbs 11:30; Matthew 25:14–30; John 9:4; Philippians 1:20–26