Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
James 4:13-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Boasting about Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Today’s scripture from the New Testament letter of James is a reminder of what we all know to be true: we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We make plans, we have a vision for what the future will be, we invest time, resources, and creativity in the future, but ultimately, we don’t know what will happen.
The plans we made back in January for 2020 have certainly changed. We didn’t have any idea how different this year would be from any other. James hits us in the face with the reminder that we don’t know the future and to think we do is to “boast in our arrogance.”
Not only that, but James reminds us of the brevity of life. He says it this way: “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” One of our hymns puts it this way: “Time, like an ever-flowing stream, bears all who breathe away; they fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day.”
Wow. What are we to do with that? The rest of the book of James, the teachings of Jesus, the wisdom literature in the Hebrew scriptures all answer that with instruction on what we are to value and how we are to live. We don’t know what the future holds, so what we do and how we live in the present matters a great deal.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster