It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were worried about Y2K. Here we are on the cusp of 2020 and what do we have in store for the next twenty years? The last twenty went by in a flash. I’m guessing the next twenty will be gone before we know it. Life is like that and that shouldn’t surprise us.
Listen to what James has to say about it in 4:13-15, 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.”
None of us know what tomorrow will bring, that is true. We make all kinds of elaborate plans and we all have dreams and desires, but none of us know if we’ll be given the days to fulfill those things. We also need to realize that many of our dreams and desires are self-serving and not in line with the will of God.
OK, you’re probably thinking, that pastor is one of those “glass half-empty” kind of guys. Well, I have to admit, I can be that way. But look what the Bible has to say about it. Our life is like a vapor or a mist that is at once here and before you know it is gone. So what are we supposed to do with that? This is where you find the competing philosophies of life. You have on one side the man-focused philosophies that are represented by the old Schlitz Beer Commercials whose slogan was, “You only go around once in life, so you have to grab for all the gusto you can…” Another way of putting this is often seen on bumper stickers that say, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
If all there is in life is serving yourself, then the whole purpose of life must be to do everything you can to make yourself happy. That becomes a miserable existence, because serving the idol of self is never satisfying, because you are not God and you don’t have the capability of satisfying yourself. The only satisfaction in this life will be found in living this life as you were designed and created to live it. God designed to find your deepest satisfaction and fulfillment in serving Him. Any philosophy, any way of life that doesn’t take you in that direction is going to be ultimately dissatisfying.
Come back to James and look at the text. He isn’t saying don’t make plans, he is saying commit your plans to the Lord knowing that He is sovereign over all things. Serve the Lord with the life that you have been given, serve Him in the place where you find yourself. As He opens doors for you, go through them and pursue knowing and growing in Christ. This is where we come to another verse that sheds light on this life for us: Matthew 10: 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. There are folks out there making all kinds of money telling you how to have your best life now. Your best life now is all about losing your life and taking up your cross in order to follow Jesus. This life will be over all too soon, don’t waste it trying to find satisfaction in things that could never deliver. If you want your best life now and forever, put off the old man and put on the new and follow Jesus.
My prayer is that 2020 will be a year full of life for you and for our church. May the Lord guide and direct our steps for His glory as we face this year and in Him may we have life and that abundantly.