James 4:13-17 says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 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.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” ESV
Boasting About Tomorrow
Many places in the Bible discuss how our days are numbered here on earth and these verses in James explain just that. James begins by pulling in those who plan for tomorrow and schedule out their lives. He goes on to explain that the Lord is in control of our time and how long we will live. We don’t know if we will be here another 4 hours, days, years, or 40 years. Our lives are short and fragile. This doesn’t mean never making plans. Rather, we should always make plans with the awareness that they can only happen if God allows them to. We need to pray to God for guidance in decision making as we attempt to plan out our lives. An attitude of disobedience is sinful, arrogant, and short-sighted, paying attention only to the present and disregarding the future. We are never to look up and yell at God for failing to plan our lives the way we think they ought to be.
James goes on to say, 5:1-“1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.” ESV
Warning to the Rich
On this earth we are given many things to enjoy. Nice phones, cars, houses, pools, jewelry, money, and so much more. But these things won’t go with us when we get to Heaven someday. When we join Jesus in Heaven we will have brand new bodies and leave behind the things of this world. Nothing material in this world matters to the Lord. He cares only about your heart. In verse 5 it says “you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter”. James is directly pointing out those who pour into the desires of their hearts instead of the desires of Jesus. In this world we will desire many things but ultimately it is Jesus who we need to seek.
Live It Out
How can we practice all of this in today’s world? We can be mindful of our plans. Make plans with the knowledge that ultimately they are the Lord’s. Look at your schedule and remind yourself that it will all happen in God’s timing. When it comes to our earthly possessions we must not get greedy but be grateful for what the Lord has given us. Go through old drawers and get rid of things you don’t need. Begin to pray and communicate with God as he leads you in these areas.