Let’s take a few seconds and think about this: When was the last time you asked someone how they are doing, or they asked you the same, and your answer wasn’t something along the lines of, “I have been really busy!”
I hope to spend some time in the next few weeks blogging about our extremely busy lives. But, before we dive in, here are a few things for you to read or download and listen to. My aim is to help us to begin to think rightly about our incessant drive towards busyness.
Listen to a recent sermon on: Slaying the Dragon Of Busyness
I like the book of James because it does not leave much for the imagination. I need that kind of clarity when I read the Bible, clear-cut and to the point. Maybe it is because I am dull, lazy, or slow to the take. I don’t know. But there is something refreshing when I read James. I don’t have to labor over what James is trying to get across to me. He says it like it is, leaving no doubt regarding his intent.
Below is one of those kinds of texts.
James 4:13-16 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.
I find it helpful to consider God’s Word as it relates to “my” time. What James is showing me here is that “my” time…. isn’t “my” time. Here are a couple quick observations about our text.
- We do not know what tomorrow will bring
The point of the text is to look at tomorrow with a dose of humility. We assume tomorrow because we think it belongs to us. A dose of reality, and we know this to be true, we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
I have to reply: “yep, I do not know! I think I know, I want to know, I plan like I know, but I do not know because I AM NOT THE LORD.” (More on that in a moment).
- What is your life?
God’s Word tells us that our life is like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Now, if you wonder how this might be, all we need to do is to consider eternity. We tend to think this life is the “big event”. We think living 100 years is a really long time. But, if we consider eternity, we are then rightly postured to consider this verse. How long is eternity? My brain struggles to consider eternity because all that I am and all that is around me has limits while eternity has none.
Pause a moment and consider eternity next to the long life of a 100 years old. 100 years, as long as that may seem is nothing more than “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Use the time God has given you in this life to its fullest for His glory and investing in and preparing for future glory.
- If the Lord wills
I like to ask questions of the Bible. Here are a few related to this phrase:
Why does the text say “if”?
Why does James use the name “Lord”, Why not use God, or Father or……?
First, “if” communicates uncertainty on our part. We do not know what the Lord wills. As believers, we are to rest in the security that we know and live for… the Lord! We can trust in His will! Paul tells us that we were redeemed when he says “you were bought with a price.” And Jesus, while teaching his disciples to pray, says it like this: “Your kingdom come, Your WILL be done.”
Why? Because He is LORD! James does not use the name of God or Father or anything else for a reason. While we may think that is just coincidence, I assure you it is not! He is Lord over our time. Meaning, He “owns” it, it belongs to Him and we are called to be stewards of it. Stick around as we seek to unpack more of this tomorrow.
- You boast in your arrogance
I read this from James and think: Wait a minute, that seems a bit of a stretch… why does he say “you boast in your arrogance”!?! Is it not because we arrogantly assume tomorrow? We tend to play the role of the Lord in our planning and think little of what His plan might be…. and God forbid if the Lord’s plan collides with ours! This kind of planning disregards the LORD. It jumps into the front seat and begins to assume…. we are Lord.
I close with a quote from Matt Perman’s book: What’s Best Next: How the gospel transforms the way you get things done.
“Most of us feel that we have way too much to do and too little time to do it. As David Allen points out, the process of managing our work is often messy and overflows its banks. ‘Behind closed doors, after hours, there remain unanswered calls, tasks to be delegated, unprocessed issues from meetings and conversations, personal responsibilities unmanaged, and dozens of emails still not dealt with.’ And as Scott Belsky notes, ‘While the tendency to generate ideas is rather natural, the path to making them happen is tumultuous.'”
Perman, Matthew Aaron (2014-03-04). What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (p. 17)