You only live once. YOLO. People everywhere thought this edgy, throw-caution-to-the-wind approach to life was front page news for a quick, pop culture minute. Finally, a hashtag that truly captures the meaning to all of life! If you’ve lived long enough you know this mantra is as old as Eve biting into a piece of forbidden fruit. Same game, different name. All of life is ours to have if we just live for the moment…live like we’re dying…YOLO…and any other multi-million dollar song lyric that implies consequences don’t matter, only you and what you get out of this life counts in the end.
This past Palm Sunday I was sitting in my car waiting for my almost teenager (how is that possible?!) to get out of basketball practice. I was excited about all 44.3 minutes of solitude I had in the school parking lot and wanted to take a few minutes to soak in some Instagram, emails, and Jesus. I looked up John 12 and read about people celebrating Jesus coming into Jerusalem as the long, awaited for king. I imagine some of palm branch wavers seizing their inner YOLO and hurrying out to jump on the bandwagon, welcoming party. I backed up a few verses to investigate events prior to Jesus’ grand entry and that’s when I noticed his name. Lazarus. You know, the one Jesus loved and let die. The one Jesus raised from the dead. We don’t get a lot of details about Lazarus’ life after death, but in John 12 we see him living. Not just raised to life again sporting stinky burial cloths, but actually full on let’s-plan-a-dinner-party living. So much for YOLO, right?
Here’s the sticky: I don’t want to YOLO. I don’t want YOLO for my kids. Not because I don’t want to be happy or joyful or adventurous, but because there’s something infinitely better than YOLO. Lazarus had it and we have it in Jesus. It’s a second chance at life. I don’t want to live like I’m dying. I want to live like I died and was given a second chance at living. I want to enjoy the moment and be happy, but to live for that? It just doesn’t hold up. YOLO doesn’t hold true by the hospital bed of a dying friend. There’s no room for YOLO in a suffering world. YOLO has no answers when consequences hurt and pain is real. YOLO is like the pseudo-friend who only comes around when things are going well. It calls when life is fun and sunny. When reality gets harsh, it hides in the shadows of hopelessness. True free-living comes as a gift that says we don’t have to be risky, fun, wild, or religious enough to earn it. Our ultimate second chance living is the hope we have in heaven because Jesus made a way for us to be there. The hope that what we do matters not just for today, but for eternity. We can squeeze everything we can out of this life and declare YOLO until our final breath…or we can live like we’ve been given a second chance at life and live it to the fullest knowing every moment has eternal purpose and every person priceless worth.