James Chapters 4 through 5
A man was expecting some relatives to spend a week’s vacation at his home. A portion of their letter read: “We will arrive at your home on Monday, God willing. We will certainly arrive by Tuesday in any event.” How true this is for many today. Out of respect for God, we may allow Him to tamper with our plans to the extent of one day more or less, but we will not tolerate His interfering any more seriously than that. This is a far cry from the Psalmist words, “You are my God. My times are in Your hand.” (Psalm 31:14-15.) There is an old Latin phrase, “Deo Volente” which means “God willing.” The abbreviations D.V. were often attached at the end of letters and statements written by the early Christians. Sort of like when we say, “God bless you,” after someone sneezes. Eventually, it lost its meaning.
This week’s reading is found in James 4:15, “If the Lord wills.” When should we pray this? According to James, we should be praying this on a regular basis, especially whenever we are making plans for the future. Life is uncertain and even though man’s knowledge is impressive only God’s knows the future. A simple word could precede most every event in our future: unexpected. Unexpected … surgery, transfer, change, accomplishment, loss, benefit, sickness, promotion, demotion, and death! The future is indeed uncertain. We read in Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not yourself of tomorrow for you know not what a day may bring forth.” We don’t know the future. Only God can see the future. You just never know what tomorrow will bring. God doesn’t play by the odds or according to the latest Gallop Poll. He makes the rules.
We need to listen to God instead of Wall Street. We need to listen to God instead of the pollsters or the evening bad news broadcasters. If Christians would take this to heart more seriously there would be fewer scams and pyramid sales plans getting rich off of them. When dollar signs get in our eyes we actually become blind and we absolutely need the wisdom of God to make right decisions when it comes to business and finances. Life is complex. It is made up of people, and places, activities and goals, days and years, and each of us must make many crucial decisions day after day. “What does God have planned for me today?” I find days that I ask this, are the MOST productive days, with good concentration and good vision. We don’t know the length of our lives. Many scriptures refer to the brevity of our lives, it is called a breath, a cloud, a flower, grass, a shadow. We must remember to number our days, not just our years. (Psalm 90:12) This is often our mistake, we forsake things today because we assure ourselves we can do them tomorrow. This was the mistake of the farmer in Luke 12:16. He had a bumper crop and instead of asking God what to do with it, stored it up for himself to guarantee himself an easy future. God called him a fool. There will be a day when there won’t be tomorrow for us, so we must live each day according to His plans for that day. God never guarantees us tomorrow will come. If we don’t pray “If it be Your will” then we will be inclined to procrastinate. To put off things we should be doing today until tomorrow. “I’ll serve when I get more time, I’ll give when I get more money. I’ll read and pray tomorrow.” Get things taken care of today. Ask God, “What is Your will for me?” then do it.