Talk about the future3
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
- from James 4:13-14
When James looks out across his brothers and sisters in the faith who are scattered among the nations, he sees them struggling to maintain a healthy perspective on the future and wealth. This week, we’ll listen to what James has to say in these conversations.
James’ listeners were in danger of slipping into unscrupulous business practices (aren’t we all?). A get-rich-quick scheme. An investment opportunity that’s too good to pass up. Profiteering. Scholars disagree about the exact nature of the danger, but James sees something bigger at stake.
If we’re not careful, we’ll plan our lives without giving thought to God.
We’ll include him in our Sunday worship but ignore him during our Monday commute. We’ll allow our financial engine to drive our lives away from the God who gives us life. We’ll forget that we neither know the future nor can control it. Before we realize it, God will be on the sidelines in our lives and we’ll be on the sidelines in his mission.
James wants to correct our perspective. We who follow Jesus don’t pretend like we are in control of the future. We know our own fragility. We know who’s in charge.
Sure, we will plan for the future (as we’ll see on Wednesday). But we know that all of our plans are tenuous. And that knowledge shows up when we talk about the future.
The way we talk about the future tells a lot about the way we see ourselves. People should be able to discern our allegiance to Christ by the way they hear us humbly talk about the future.
How do you talk about the future? Pay attention to your language today and see what it reveals about you and your relationship with God.