Today we come to the end of September 2020 and to the end of James 4. It is hard to read verses 13-17 about boasting what someone can accomplish tomorrow without pondering our presidential campaign and last night’s debate where two men shared (we won’t say boasted) about what they could accomplish better than the other guy. Oh my! Who will be able to control disease and the virus in our midst? Who can best provide income for families? Who can keep our environment healthy? Who, who, who? James clearly points out that the future is in God’s hands and life can change in a moment with a car accident, a phone call, or -a loss.
Chapter one compared us to a toss waving in the sea driven by wind and unstable in doubt or to a wild flower that blossoms and fades. Now James uses the image of a mist that appears and vanishes. A presidential term is even shorter on the stage of history. James claims boasting is arrogance, placing our trust in ourselves rather than in God.
Yesterday I went to get a new state license and to register our car. I thought I had my ducks in order and had all necessary documents. My husband and I were assigned to different windows but our documents of residence were to both of us, oops. Fedex delivered the title deed to our temporary address three doors from our permanent address so our temporary shuffling of houses became obvious. Then when they looked at proof of insurance it became clear that insurance was issued at our old address so that we had to run to the lobby and call the company and get everything updated with addresses. A seemingly straight-forward process somehow drained all my energy. Life is like that. We think we have things in order to tackle huge issues like environment or welfare and suddenly we are masking and finding new ways to do church. Only God holds tomorrow.
James concludes that when we know what we should do and don’t do it, we sin. The focus returns to the present and the reality that God holds our lives in his hands and our task is to live with integrity in that knowledge. I do not know your plans for today nor which ones will go side-wards but God does. Let’s keep our eyes on him for he is faithful. Blessings.