“A [Christian] should always act as if he was going to die tomorrow; yet he should treat his body as if it was going to live for many years.”
— Evagrios the Solitary, 4th cent. AD
The encouragement to ‘live today as if it was our last’ is somewhat trite and only partly correct. While we should be motivated to act toward others as if today was our final day, we must always act towards ourselves as though we would live to be one hundred.
The first motivation keeps us from passing up opportunities to serve, to grow, to forgive, and to love. Indeed, when looking back from our deathbeds, our lives will seem short and our missed opportunities many. Carpe diem. Let us seize the day, redeem our time, and make the most of each day–recognizing each as a gift that we dare not take for granted.
Simultaneously, the latter truth prevents us from neglecting our own health and wellness, without which it is impossible to do those things inspired by former. We must care for ourselves–physically, emotionally, spiritually–precisely that we might seize today and act as though these hours were our final ones on earth.
Unfortunately, our society tends to reverse the truths taught by Evagrios. We act as though we would live forever–putting off indefinitely those things we ought to be busy about right now. At the same time, we treat our bodies as though we would die tomorrow–neglecting wellness in favor of the immediate satisfaction of gluttony and sloth.
We must get the order right, that we might make a real difference in the lives of those around us.