Dealing with the futureWhere's the Faith? Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
Since the beginning of time, people all over the world have demonstrated an almost insatiable desire to know the future. Psychics rake in millions of dollars annually because people want to know what the future holds. Probably every major newspaper runs a daily horoscope for its readers. Have you ever kept a fortune from a fortune cookie?
People from all walks of life are fascinated by a desire to know what the future holds. Just look at the most popular books even in the religious community – what’s the subject? The End Times; The Second Coming; Prophecy; Left Behind Series!
Whatever your viewpoint is, James 4 is making the point that knowing the future is not nearly as important as being prepared for the future.
Most of us believe in God (whatever name you might use) yet, how many of us simply leave God out of our lives. At times we talk, plan and even implement those plans with a total disregard for the will of God.
I find it interesting that in much of the Latino culture there is this phrase: “Si Dios quiere.” “If it’s God’s will.” And the same is true for much of the Muslim culture – “If Allah wills.” In AA, the Step Three prayer ends with, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” When we say the Savior’s Prayer we recite the lines, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done …”
The test of what one believes is not found in what they say, but in how they live. Many people profess one thing, but live another.
Let’s look at what James has to say about dealing with the future and some common mistakes we make.
Mistake No.1 Planning without God.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’”
What James is pointing out here is not an open defiance of God, but rather, a disregard for God. This is an attitude of self-sufficiency – of “I can do it my way without anyone’s help.”
James rebukes this ego-trip by saying, “Come now.” Today we would say, “Oh, come on now!” He’s talking to those who treat the future as something that they can not only predict, but have control over. It’s good to have a plan – to have goals – and also to bring God into the picture. Wisdom says, “Bring God into the mix for a better result.”
Mistake No.2 Presuming to know the future.
“Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
The key word to understanding verse fourteen is the word, “know.” The Greek word conveys the idea of “knowing for sure or being absolutely certain.”
“What is your life?” With a question James leads us by answering it to a proper attitude toward life. Implicit in James’ answer: Life is a gift. And, life is an opportunity. The way we look at life makes all the difference in the world.
Mistake No. 3 Delay of what should be done today.
“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do so, to that person it is sin.”
What are some examples of this?
When you know someone who needs a word of encouragement and you withhold it.
When you know you’re wrong about something yet you refuse to apologize for it.
What is James asking us to do? To acknowledge God’s will for our lives. What is God’s will for you?
Rev. Dan Koeshall is the Senior Pastor at The Metropolitan Community Church (The Met) in San Diego, California, themetchurch.org
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