We live in a now society. Pleasure now, fun now, fast food; what’s taking so long?
Read the words of R. C. Sproul:
“The world spirit invites us to play now and pay later, though the emphasis is on the now. This is the popular way to go. For the christian to resist the seduction of this world he must risk going against the tide.”
He’s talking about the fact that Christians must resist this spirit by abstaining from sinful things that our culture encourages us to indulge in. Mostly good things that are bad at the wrong time. Like sex-in marriage it’s a great thing. Before marriage it’s fornication: a sin.
I would add that this spirit of play now, pay later, not only must be resisted by Christians but by anyone who’s going to do anything in life other than waste it fooling around. It applies to the student investing his time now in study and preparation for a future career. It applies to the woman who is working tirelessly and saving money to open a fashion boutique one day. This reverses the old adage to a new one: pay now, play later.
I have experienced each side of this coin: the play now, pay later: with the party life as a young man.
The pay now, play later: working hard through college to now enjoy my career.
I even know of another example that is interesting. When I was younger i was in a band for many years. We tried to make it big. We would sit and practice on nights when other’s were out partying and living it up. They used to taunt us and alienate us for being so consumed with the band. They just didn’t get it. So, if you pay now to play later, you can expect taunting and alienation and people who just won’t get it, no matter what the thing is.
So, the question becomes: what are you living for? The here? The now? Or are you investing in the future? Once you answer that, you have an answer for the seduction of the world and the people who write you off as crazy, stupid, or worse.
Geddy Lee, the lead singer of the band Rush said it well:
Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage
Living in the limelight
The universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme
Those who wish to be must “put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination….the underlying theme…”
So, pay now, play later is not some concept the christians devised. It’s a wise principle of life. It’s the “underlying theme” for “those who wish to be.” Be what? To be anything worthwhile. If your’e not actively working towards becoming that, your’e just dreaming.
God is calling all who get this concept of wisdom to invest their now in his kingdom for later. It doesn’t mean we don’t have fun ever. We still do have a lot of fun now and enjoy life very much with all it’s blessings, just in the proper timing and way that God has prescribed. And we are investing our lives in God’s business, the business of winning souls to him and preparing everyone for a future kingdom that is coming one day.
We are “in touch with some reality, beyond the gilded cage,” and so are all who pay now to play later. I invite you to come pay now with us, so you can experience the great play later.
Paying now, in the christian context is living for the one who paid it all. Our savior Jesus, who beckons us “come and die” (luke 9:23) also promises us that he will resurrect us: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)