“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 profit” – 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. Instead you ought to say, “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
It is very possible to attend church and listen to sermons but in your everyday work-a –day world we leave God out of our reckoning. James reminds his readers of the uncertainty and transience of life. In the light of this reality wisdom would tutor us to always say: If the Lord wills…”
This is not a passive resignation to fate. It means that we do everything in humble recognition that God holds tomorrow and shapes our future according to our faith, conduct, and character. He has the last word.
We still live. We still do. We still go to and fro. But only if the Lord is pleased. We still make plans. We execute them to the best of our abilities. But always, always in prayerful consultation with God our Senior Partner in life, in destiny, in everything. The Lord willing.
James is not against planning.. He is against PRIDE and PRESUMPTION! Some people are practical atheists six days a week and choose to only consult God on spiritual matters on Sundays.
Renounce the false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. Surrender your education, your career, your business, your work-life completely to God. Relinquish your children on the altar of the Lord.
And remember: Many are the plans in a person’s mind, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
IF GOD WILLS!!!
Rev. Timothy Ewing-Chow