“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
This little phrase was the founding principle of the Epicureans, a philosophy whose principle value was the enjoyment of all life had to offer, especially in the realm of food and drink. It is quoted a few different times in scripture to speak of a valueless life, a pointless life, a temporary life. In today’s reading, its a life without a belief in the resurrection. If there is nothing beyond this life, the argument goes, then you might as well make the most of the little time you have, pointless as it is.
But this phrase has also become a founding principle for many in the world today. While we proclaim a belief in Jesus and therefore a hope for a life after our death, our practical, everyday life fits this phrase better than Jesus’ call to self-denial. We eat what will taste best, unless it is too fattening at which point we shun it so we can stretch this life out as long as possible. Why? Because we don’t really believe in an afterlife at all.
Think about how often you make decisions based on your own pleasure? From what to eat, to what to do in your spare time, to your accumulation of wealth, we are far too quick to chase this world’s pleasures.
As followers of Christ, this should not be a consideration for us. We should be sacrificially loving others, giving up what we have for those who have nothing, and seeking the greater good rather than our own pleasure. We need to do better at living as Christians in our practice as well as our proclamation.