Thinking Of Tomorrow (James 4:13-14a)

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15, AV)

In the 1970’s a British music group called Fleetwood Mac introduced a song titled, “Don’t Stop.” The chorus of the song went like this. “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow – Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here – It’ll be better than before – Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” This song had a very upbeat message and tune. It was filled with optimism. However, it is only filled with partial truth. It is true to say, “yesterday’s gone.” Yesterday may have been a bad day and often it is a great relief to get the bad day or times behind us. Yet, the problem with this song is that there is no guarantee that tomorrow will “be better than before.” It may be better. It may be the same. It may be worse. Of course, it could be much-much better if the Lord would return tomorrow.

The problem is that we just do not know what tomorrow will bring. I know this from personal experience. My wife and I went fishing earlier this week and had a great day fishing. We caught our limit of fish in just a couple hours. We had a blast. So, I thought, they’re biting lets go back the next day and catch some more. So, the next day, we went back, but the weather and the fishing changed. It was bone-chilling cold, the ocean was very rough, and the fishing was not the same. There is just no guarantee what tomorrow will bring.

This is part of the message that James is bringing to his readers. In particular, he mentions business people who are in the business of commercial trade who plan on travelling to a certain city and making a huge gain. He tells them that they have no idea what tomorrow will bring and that they should rather say that if it is the Lord’s will they will do this or that.

Now, it is prudent for us to make plans for the future. We just cannot function without doing so. For instance, if you want to go on a camping vacation, you need to book a campsite, load up the car, plan a travel route, pack certain clothes, etc. However, there is no absolute guarantee that the trip will go the way you planned it. I can’t tell you how many of our planned family vacations did not go exactly as we envisioned.

The point is that God is in control. The writer of Proverbs stated, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, AV). We must realize that a walk of faith is different from a walk of presumption. When we presume that things in the future will go a certain way, we are again making an assumption that is not in our control. There is only one who is truly in control and that is the Lord our God. He is in control and He has established the plan and days of our lives (Psalm 139:16). The good news of this is that God does have a sovereign plan for our lives and even if tomorrow does not bring what we want, God has a good purpose for us in it (Rom 8:28-29).

So, let us not presume to take the place of God in ordaining the events of tomorrow. Moreover, let us not presume God to do everything the way we want to see it happen. Let us walk by faith. Yes, make plans for the future, but realize that God is in control of the steps you take on that journey tomorrow. Remember that His ways are higher than yours are (Isaiah 55:9), and that He watches over us and never leaves us in our walk with Him.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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