Jas 4:14-16 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (15) Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Yesterday we just looked at the problem with making plans for the future as if that future was already a done deal. Certainly planning to go somewhere and profit is a reasonable exercise. No one builds a tower without counting the cost but to do so without considering God in the equation is not a smart thing to do, nor, dare I say, is it a Christian thing to do.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (psalms 127:1)
Today, we consider plans from the perspective of “what is your life?” For time-bound mortals, we generally have a pretty self-absorbed opinion of ourselves. Jesus said We can’t even make one hair white or black, and he wasn’t talking about L’Oreal or Grecian formula. We really cannot do anything that will give us a significantly longer life and yet we walk around as if we have all the years in eternity.
James tells us that our life is an exceptionally, inordinately, undeniably, very, super short in duration event. Have you ever seen the fog in a valley sit there in the morning and burn off? In a couple of hours it is gone. By the next day, it is a question: “Do you remember that fog yesterday?” A year later, the duration of that fog means so little as to simply be a phenomenon rather than a significant event. Something that happens from time to time but does nothing to change or effect the valley in any way.
We should never think that even if were to gain the whole world, that we have a significant lasting effect on the world.
The rich man in Luke 12 grew a great crop and was going to retire for years. He planned to build big barns to store everything in and take it easy. Yet God called him a fool. Why? He was going to die that evening. Of what value was all that wealth to him then? None! Jesus said we must be rich toward God.
James is not saying that a business man can’t plan for the future but these guys were boasting in their arrogance. Just look what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. It is arrogant when you can’t control all the events to think that it will all work out for you. Besides, all that is temporal earthly stuff, it will not be of value to you in the life to come.
“Lord willing” is a phrase that we do not hear much today. We are more likely to say “if the sun comes out and the creek don’t rise.” Christians have a way of speaking and it should be apparent to all. There is a humility in “Lord willing” it says “I don’t know everything but I trust that God does. Win or Lose, I will serve the Lord.”
I seriously doubt that Joseph knew he would not be coming home for dinner before his brothers sold in to Egyptian bondage, nor do I think Daniel knew how God would help him as he bravely decided to eat only what was proper for the Jews to eat. Yet, I can see in their lives and in their words, you can see the “Lord willing” attitude.
I would challenge you to add the phrase “Lord willing” to your vocabulary more. It will no doubt sound strange and we should not go overboard (I guess it can be done) to the point of making it meaningless. However, I think you will find that your attitude will say it even when your words don’t if you get in the practice of letting your plans be “Lord willing.”
Posted on January 7, 2012, in Christianity, Faith and tagged christianity, commentary on James, faith, if the Lord wills, Lord willing, post a day 2012, tongue. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.