February 11, 2010
The Other Side
READ: James 4:13-17
What is your life? It is even a vapor. —James 4:14
When someone said to my friend, “See you in a year,” it sounded odd when he replied, “Yes, see you on the other side.” He meant that he’d see him on the other side of a one-year deployment for the US Navy. But because the phrase is often used of heaven, it made me think about the uncertainty of life. I wondered, Who will be here in another year? Who might by then be on the other side—in heaven?
We certainly don’t know what the next year—or hour—will bring. In his epistle, James wrote about this uncertainty. He rebuked the greedy merchants for boasting about what they would do that day, the next day, or even the next year (4:13). Their sin wasn’t that they were making plans; it was forgetting God and arrogantly boasting about those business plans.
James reminded them: “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (v.14). Commentator Peter Davids says that James was pointing out their foolishness and saying, in essence, “Come now, you who make plans—you don’t even understand how little control you have over life itself.”
No part of life is outside the control of God. So when we make plans, we need to remember, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (v.15). — Anne Cetas
Tomorrow’s plans I do not know,
I only know this minute;
But He will say, “This is the way,
By faith now walk ye in it.” —Ryberg
Write your plans in pencil and let God have the eraser.