James (Part 11) There is Always Tomorrow, or is There?
In the past I have had the pleasure of conducting Bible studies and sharing the Good News about Jesus with a number of different people. And in doing so I have to admit it is a joyous occasion when the light bulb came on in a person head. They began to understand who Jesus is; the fact that He died for their sin, that they can be forgiven and become God’s child, and have the hope of heaven. They come to believe that if they accept Jesus as their personal Savior, do their best to turn from their sin, confess Him as the new Lord of their life, and then allow Jesus to remove those sins in the watery grave of baptism, they will be set free from all their sin and have the hope of heaven.
What I find extremely sad is when someone learns the true about Jesus and how to be saved, and really believes it all, but then outright refuses to do what they know that they should do, and they put it all off to another day in the future when they think that they can be a better Christian.
Many years ago when I worked with the Saratoga Church, my partner and I had a Bible study with a middle aged lady. She loved the Bible study and learning about Jesus and really understood not only how to become a Christian but also what it meant to be a Christian. But after it was all said and done, she told us that even though she understood it all she did not want to become a Christian at that time because there were some things in her life she did not want to give up doing. She said that maybe sometime later she would become a Chrisitian.
It seemed like only a month later we got a call and we found out that this lady got sick with some weird disease and died suddenly. If I remember correctly both my partner and I shed some tears that day because she had turned her back on Jesus thinking that she had more time.
In James 4:13-16 he write, “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.”
Ten years ago Thursday my dad died suddenly. He was out working in the greenhouse and came in for his morning break and told my mom his stomach felt upset. My mom, brother, and son when back out to work while he stayed in the house.
My mom came back to the house a little while later she found my dad’s lifeless body on the floor. We were told that he died of a massive Aortic Aneurism. One of the main arteries going to his heart had a blowout and he died almost instantly.
It was a couple days before Easter and in the greenhouse it was one of the busiest times of the year. It was a time to make some money after a long slow winter season. I think about what James wrote the man said, “Today or tomorrow we will carry on business and make money.” And God responds by saying ”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
We work, and drive our self crazy trying to get ahead and make more money. We worry, we fret, we are afraid about what is going to happen tomorrow yet there is a good possibly you may not even live to see another day.
You may think, ‘Ah that won’t happen to me.’ That’s what my dad thought. He thought he was healthy and had plans for his future. Many die suddenly everyday thinking they have more time; probably more than you realize!
Did you know that in the USA about 33,000 people die each year in car accidents. That breaks down to about 90 people per day. It could suddenly happen to any one of us this very day.
Here is a statistic you may not know about: an estimated 325,000 people die each year, or about 9300 people per day from (SCA) Sudden Cardiac Arrest. It is a leading cause of death in the United States where people suddenly die because their heart stops. 9300 people per day that expected to live longer.
And then those who die of Aneurysm which is a sudden killer as my dad found out:
- Aortic Aneurysms about 15000 people die of them per year
- Abdominal Aneurysm about 15000 people die of them per year
- And Brain Aneurysms claim about 20000/year, all without a warning. So that’s almost another 1000 per week who die suddenly from aneurysms
As James put it, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Now I did not set out to scare you today, rather…
#1. I want you to face the reality that we may not have a tomorrow, or another month, or another year. Life is frail, Like a mist that’s there one moment and gone another.
And #2. James makes his whole point by stating, “15 Instead, we ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” In other words, it’s all about God’s will not ours. Our life is truly in God’s hands.
What went wrong with the man in James story? In the middle of all his plans he left out God. He forgot to seek the face of the One who created Him. He forgot to determine the will of the One who sustains him. He forgot to seek His blessing as he went off to work.
How many times do we do that? In all of your plans do you asked God if what you are planning is ok with Him and something He will bless? As we plan for the future of this Church, are we asking what God’s plans for us are?
When you look at verse 13, there was nothing wrong with the man planning on going to a city. There was nothing wrong with planning on staying there for a year. There was nothing wrong with planning on starting a business there. There wasn’t even anything wrong with planning on making some money from that business. So what was wrong with the man’s plans? He left God out. He thought he was going to do all that on his own. He forgot that without the Lord, he’s really nothing.
He forgot that even if all of his business plans worked out, his life was but a vapor. He could be the most successful businessman on earth, but that didn’t really matter if God decided his life should end.
He should have considered making God a partner as he made his plans.
What about you? When you make your plans do you considering God and His will in light of what you want to do?
Have you laid your plan before Him in prayer? And when you pray do you listen and watch for His response? Or do you just push ahead like a raging bull no matter what anyone else thinks, including God.
As I see it, inquiring of God shows how important He is in our everyday life, not just on Sundays.
I personally believe that God is not only concerned about our soul’s eternal destiny; I believe He is also concerned about our everyday affairs and how we conduct our lives in His kingdom. And I also believe He wants to bless us, but He have to put Him and His will first.
And to do that we not only have to seek to learn and understand what He wants of us in His written word and through the promptings of His Spirit in us, we also have to be do our best to accept and do His will as we live and work in His kingdom..
We have no promise that we will have tomorrow and so we should live like this day is the most important of all; as another day to bring glory to our Father. .
And if you make any plans, ask God about them. Ask for His approval and blessing. Even consider the advice of other godly men and women you consider wise in the kingdom. And if it is not God’s will, pray that He will slam the door shut and make it real obvious to you.
Every day that God gives you and me, every day He allows us to live is a gift. Its another day to live, and enjoy our families. It’s another day to be creative or do something good. It’s another day to show mercy and express love. It’s another day to enjoy what God has created for us in nature. We can either enjoy those things and use the day to His glory or focus more on our own selfish will and desires; like the man in James’ story.
It’s ok to make plans, work hard, to try to earn and good living in what little time we do have. But if we are to learn anything from this text I hope that you will learn to partner with God in all that you do.
Also realize that you probably should not put of to tomorrow what you should do today.
And if you have not become a Christian thinking that tomorrow will be a better day remember what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:2 where he wrote, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Each time I drive past the cemetery in back of the Target and Staples stores in Saratoga I remember that lady I studied with who is now buried there. Like when we buried her, I still remember what she said, “I don’t want to become a Christian now; maybe later.” Later never came for her!
Do not put off doing God’s will, and do not forget to seek His will out for your life.