January 28: Carpe Diem
Genesis 44; Hebrews 8–9; Ecclesiastes 11:1–4
The Latin phrase Carpe Diem, means “seize the day.” Taking risks to make your life extraordinary is biblical, if done according to God’s plan and principles. The idea behind this comes from Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccl 11:1).
Bread acts as the symbol for substance in the ancient world; the author of Ecclesiastes is suggesting that we should follow God’s plan, even at the possible cost of our livelihood. He then suggests that what we give to God, He will return. This is opposite from a self-protection mentality. The “waters” in the proverb represent chaos, suggesting that in letting go of even the most chaotic circumstances, we learn about God’s ability to give what we need.
This is further illustrated when the author says, “Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.… He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Eccl 11:2, 4). In other words, there is no real way to calculate the return on investment. Things can always go bad. But with God, that’s not the case. He honors the work of those who diligently follow Him and give of themselves.
In the eyes of the world, not everything will work out perfectly for those who willingly give to God. But it will work out in the spiritual long haul. So, when God calls us to something, the answer is Carpe Diem. And the question we should be asking Him is, “What can I do for you and your kingdom?”
What risks are you taking for God right now? Have you asked Him what risks He would like you to take?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Afterward he commanded his steward, saying, Fill the men’s sack with food, as much as they can carry, and put ever mans’ money in his sack’s mouth. And put my cup, I mean, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money, And he did according to the commandment that Joseph gave him, And in the morning the men were sent away, and their asses. And when they went out of the city not far off, Joseph said to his steward, Up, follow after the men: and when thou does overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is not that the cup wherein my lord drinketh? and in the which he doth divine and prophesy? Ye have done evil in so doing. And when the he overtook them, he said these words unto them. And they answered him, Wherefore saith my lord such words? God forbid that thy servants should do such a thing . Behold, the money which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of the lord’s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen. And he said, Now then let it be according unto thy words: he with whom it is found, shall be my servant, and shall be blameless. Then at once every man took down his sack to the ground, and everyone opened his sack. And he searched, and began at the elders, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then the rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and went again into the city. So Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house (for he was yet there) and they fell before him on the ground. Then Joseph and unto them, What act is this, which ye have done? know ye no that such a man as I, can divine and prophecy? Then said Judah, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? and how can we justify ourselves? God hath found out the wickedness of thy servants: behold, we are servants to my lord, both we, and he, with whom the cup is found. But he answered, God forbid, that I should do so, but the man, with whom the cup is found, he shall be my servant, and go ye in peace unto your father. Then Judah drew near unto him, and said, O my lord, let thy servant now speak a word in my lord’s ear, and let not thy wrath be kindled against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we answered my lord, We have a father that is old, and a young child, which he begat in his age: and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. Now thou saidest unto thy servants, Bring him unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we answerd my lord, The child cannot depart his father: for if he leave his father, his father would die. Then saidest thou unto thy servants, Except your younger brother come down with you, look in my face no more. So when we came unto thy servant our father, and showed him what my lord has said. And our father said unto us, Go again, buy us a little food. Then we answered, We cannot go down, but if our younger brother go down with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man’s face, except the younger brother be with us. Then thy servant my father said unto me, and said I, Of a surety he is torn in pieces, and I saw him not since. Now ye take this also away from me: if death take him, then ye shall bring my gray head in sorrow to the grave. Now therefore, when I come to thy servant my father, and the child be not with us (seeing that his life dependeth on the child’s life.) Then when he shall see that the child is not come, he will die: so shall thy servants bring down the gray head of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. Doubtless thy servant became surety for the child to my father, and, If I bring him not unto thee again, then I will bear the blame unto thy father forever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let me thy servant abide for the child, as a servant to my lord, and let the child go up with his brethren. For how can I go up to my father: if the child be not with me, unless I would see the evil that shall come on my father. (Genesis 44)
- Not like the Testament that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt: for they continued not in my Testament, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Hebrews 8-9)
- Cast thy bread upon the waters: for after man days thou shalt find it. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full, they will pour forth rain upon the earth: and if the tree do fall toward the South, or toward the North, in the place that the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds, shall not weep. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-4)