We live in a society where making plans are part of everyday life in which we try to predict the future. We plan from a young age thinking of the exams we need to pass to enable us to follow the type of future we desire. If you want a career in Law, you do not want to follow courses that are of an engineering persuasion. When at work, you must make plans for the progress of any projects you are engaged on. There is usually a critical path that must be followed to procure a successful outcome. In any plan there must be a purpose, objective, a start and end date, and projected cost, otherwise it is just a dream.
While reading through James there is a verse that is very pertinent for us today, "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” James 4 v 13.
Whether we are living as a Christian or not, we all make plans, the church makes plans for special events in the future, such as outreach and visiting speakers. We, as individuals, make plans for special events in our own personal lives to celebrate events as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, and holidays just to mention a few.
So planning becomes a very important aspect to everyday life, but this year we have had all plans disintegrate before our eyes, whether its governments, those in authority, well known people, the rich and poor there has been no discrimination, all have been affected by a small molecule of a virus that we cannot even see with our own naked eyes. However brilliant people are, or powerful countries are they are powerless against such a microscopic life force.
In these days we are shown the fragility of life and the world in which we live, and things put our trust in.
Returning to the Letter of James in chapter 4 verse 13 the writer is addressing the attitude of certain Christians who are more concerned about monetary wealth, they make plans concerning which is the most profitable location to set up home and trade there for a year and then move on and start again elsewhere. Human nature has not changed from the time when Adam fell, it is all associated with self.
The writer goes on to remind them of the transient nature of life, this has been brought home in the last four weeks of this lockdown we are experiencing when everyday day we are given the number who have died in hospital from Covid19. Those who have died have been from the whole spectrum of ages, fitness, and professions. Death does not discriminate, for death comes to all of us. We think we can live forever, but we are only one breath away from eternity.
Have you ever thought that when you make a Will you have little control over what is done with your possessions? You can put them in some sort of trust to ensure that they are given some sort of guard, but basically you are powerless to enforce what happens to them after you die. When you die, whatever is precious, held in your hand, is taken, and given to another and you are powerless to prevent it from happening. These are sobering thoughts, but the writer wants his readers and us to realise where our true treasure lies. Our trust should be in the Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth who is the same yesterday today and tomorrow who never changes, trustworthy and sure, and not affected by Covid19.
For what is life? What is the purpose of man? The Shorter Catechism Q1: What is the chief end of man? Ans: Man’s chief end is the glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
James makes it clear in his response in verse 15, we are to enquire of God, to be obedient to Him and enjoy fellowship with Him. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3v17).
In these days where the brevity of life has hit home and all our hopes and aspirations disappear we need someone who can identify with us that is the Lord Jesus Christ not that He was affected by the coronavirus but He suffered on Calvary having His life breath being sucked out Him with no respirator available only sour wine. His death was in God’s plan for our salvation.
God’s plan was carried out to perfection the critical path objectives and the cost were met. His plan was from eternity, for us it was from Genesis 3 and is still being met until He calls the world to an end, Revelation 22.
We need to live close to His heart and enjoy His presence because His grace puts everything in its right perspective, in these uncharted times. For if we disregard God’s advice there are those dreadful words in Matthew 7v 23 ‘I never knew you’.
We need help in these times, we have in Matthew 7 v7 & 8. Ask, seek, and knock. This is prayer with persistence, not letting go until He answers, to give meaning and purpose for our existence and our faith in Him, (Heb 11v6).
These are some of my thoughts from reading The Letter of James.