November 30

James 4:13-15 13Now 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." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

In the first century there were more Jews living outside of Israel than inside its boundaries. God gifted them with a good sense of business. Cities that were being founded in remote areas would offer incentives to begin a business there. It gave Jews an opportunity to make large sums of money. The expression in the passage was quite common.

In our world it is just as common. A business idea captures our imagination. Things start to fall into place, and before you know it, we are boasting about the great success we are about to experience. Our heart becomes enthralled with what we expect to take place.

James is warning us that life is transitory. Our vision needs to be fixed on the eternal. If God wills we may be successful, but we must always keep it in balance with the fact that it is temporary. When we keep our eyes on heaven, the business of this world cannot steal our hearts from what is truly important.

Consider: Watch a bit of steam from your kettle as it dissipates. That is a picture of the passing of our lives. How should that affect our attitude toward worldly things like business? If the Lord wills, I will still be living in this realm tomorrow. If He wills, I will leave it all behind and be at home with Him.