Wednesday 27 May 2020
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (ESV)
13 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. (James 4:13-16)
Do you ever wonder why in James 4:13 and 16, the Bible tells us that when we talk and plan for tomorrow independently on our own, it is considered as boasting, demonstrating our arrogance which is evil? The same train of thought is also reiterated in Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring”. Such exhortation is timely and true because we do not have control of tomorrow. By boasting of our future plan we fail to give the due reverence to God who is sovereign and has the absolute control over our life. That is why James says “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 vanishes.” Proverbs 27:1b repeated the same piece of advice “for you do not know what a day may bring.” Therefore, we are considered arrogant and boastful when we brag about the things we want to do without acknowledging the fact that we actually have no control over them. Our life is always in the mercy of God’s hand. When we fail to give such recognition and reverence to God, it is boastful which is evil.
Instead, James teaches us to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” With this attitude, we give reference to God; fully acknowledging He is the Almighty God who has sovereign control over all creation and every aspect of our life. When we have that kind of awareness and acknowledgement of HIS existence and control over our lives and everything we do, we will give Him the reverent fear as we ought to. We will not take things into our hands but come to Him in prayer in every area of our life.
Years ago, an earnest Christian doctor was called to see an elderly man whom he had frequently visited before. He had shared the Gospel with his patient many times, but on each occasion, his patient would reply, “Not now, Doc. Some other time.” In this visit, the elderly man was suffering from a severe bronchial attack. The doctor examined him and after promising to get some medicine ready, he was about to say “Good-bye” when the patient’s wife asked, “Doctor, when John should start taking the medicine?”
“Well, let’s see, he is not very ill now. Suppose you begin a month from now.”
The couple looked at him in astonishment because this infection was quite serious. “Maybe a month from today? Surely you’re not serious!” said the man’s wife.
“Well, why not? Is that too soon?”
“Too soon! Why I may be dead by then!” said the patient.
“Hmm…that might be true. But remember, you really aren’t very bad yet. Still, perhaps you had better begin to take it – say, in a week.”
“Doctor,” John said in great perplexity, “I don’t mean to question your advice, but I might not live even a week in the condition I am in.”
“Well, that is true, John, but very likely you will. And the medicine will be in the house. If you find yourself getting worse, you could take some then.”
Very seriously, John said, “Doc, this is the worst illness I have ever had. To be honest with you, if I don’t get some medicine soon, I may be dead tomorrow!”
“Well, when would you propose to begin, John?”
“Well, I thought you would tell me to begin now.”
“John, begin now by all means,” said the doctor. “I only want to show you how false your own reasoning is when you keep putting off taking the medicine which the Great Physician has provided for your sin-sick soul. For years you have turned away from the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You have said to yourself ‘next week,’ or ‘next year’ or ‘when I am ready’; any time rather than the now. And yet “now” is the only time that you can be sure of.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We acknowledge that all our tomorrows are in your hands. We ask that we can be useful to you today; courageous enough not to worry about tomorrow, and loyal enough not to waver in our love for you and our commitment to you.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Ps. Wallace Ong