In Jas 4:26, James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” From Jas 4:13-17, we should glean some important truths from this thought provoking question and the comments James gives in reply. We see from this passage that:
Life is uncertain – Jas 4:13-14 – some will say, “Tomorrow we will go…”. And James replied, “ye know not what shall be on the morrow.” Solomon said, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth,” [Prov 27:1]. You need be ready to meet Jesus everyday. Philip and Steve, two good friends of Benny, said, “He was ready everyday.” He was. His witness matched his testimony whether he was in uniform, in the oil field, on horseback, or in church. An old school mate of mine in the eighth grade, replied to the question, “What would you do if you knew Jesus were coming tomorrow?” He said, “Nothing different than I’m doing today.” He was always ready. Lois Bush, one of our former pianists, said every Sunday, “Today sure would be a good day for Jesus to come.” She went to lunch with Dr. Everett one Sunday, went to her apartment to take a nap, and she went home to be with the Lord that afternoon. Life is not uncertain to the Lord [Jas 4:15]; but it is to us.
Life is short – Jas 4:14, “It… appeareth for a little time.” Paul told us that we should be “Redeeming the time,” [Eph 5:16]. I believe in being patient, but you have to put your hat in the ring and get going at some point. You don’t realize that a day turns into a week, and a week turns into a month, and a month turns into a year, and a year turns into a decade, and a decade turns into a lifetime. And it just happens so fast. My Dad said, “if you have something in your heart that you think you need to do, do it. For the time will come when you can’t.” When will you step up? We have a place for you to serve. When you know to do good and you don’t, you sin, Jas 4:17.
Life is temporal – “and then vanisheth away.” I have read “Taming the Nueces Strip” and I’m reading “A Vaquero of the Brush Country.” These are accounts of what took place right here in the mid to late 1800’s. These are fascinating histories. However, you can’t see one inkling of what the authors describe because it has all vanished away. In Lk 12:15-21 a man plans to build bigger barns to hold his increased crop production, not knowing that he is going to die that night. We should be careful to not invest too heavily in the temporal things of life. We should invest in the eternal. Eternal life doesn’t vanish away. Treasures in heaven don’t vanish away [Matt 6:20]. Prayers of the saints don’t vanish away [Ps 141:1-2; Rev 8:3-4]. Heavenly conversations don’t vanish away [Phil 3:20 w/ Mal 3:16]. Souls won to Christ don’t vanish away [1 Thes 2:19-20]. So, keep a good testimony and continue to be a faithful witness.
Conclusion: with the passing of a loved one, we understand just how uncertain and short life really is. So, always be ready. Always tell those you love that you love them. Always tend to the things that should not be put off. Get busy for the Lord. And keep your eye and your heart on the eternal things.