YOLO with Wisdom

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 NRSV

When one thinks of YOLO or You Only Live Once, it is often in the context of doing something or an action that is dangerous or may end one’s life quickly. In the context of this scripture, I am not referring to living life haphazardly because that means one would not use wisdom. What I am referring to is living your life with purpose, enjoyment, and wisdom. For it is in the balance of life that we become our true selves.  The writer reminds us in verse ten, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol to which you are going.”

The writer is not referring to finding something to do to keep busy but suggests whatever one can do—one should pursue. Whether that is starting your business, you always wanted to try, go back to school, earn the next level degree, or retire and travel the world. Whatever it is that you have set in your heart and mind to achieve, then as the Nike commercial says, “Just DO IT!” What are you waiting on because life is short and fleeting? Once we are in Sheol, known as the grave, there are no second chances, there are no do-overs, but while we have breath in our bodies, clothed in our right minds, and have the activity of our limbs, it is time to YOLO with wisdom.

It is time to find the purpose in the thing or idea that we always wanted to try but were too afraid. I have learned in this pandemic if I had not learned before that tomorrow is not promised nor the next second, and the air we breathe we have taken for granted. We do not know what will happen to us. So, the time that God has given us, we should use it wisely. Take this moment as a time of self-reflection and to see what changes “I can make to live a life of purpose with wisdom.” How can I make each moment on this earth matter in its brevity with the skills that God has so graciously given me?  Finally, in the wisdom that we learn to live our lives to its fullest potential that is pleasing to God and in community with others.  I end here as I say go in peace, purpose, and YOLO with wisdom.


Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy