Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on James 4:13-17.
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 (James 4:14).
am glad to be a Christian, because we get to ask the ultimate questions of life,
as James poses it here: “For what is your life?”
begins to answer that question by stressing the brevity and fragility of life. James
says that life is like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes
away. Where we live close to the mountains it is not unusual to wake up in the
early morning to find a hazy vapor hanging low in the air, which soon
disappears as the sun rises. James says that life is like this. It is brief. It
is fleeting. It is fragile.
similar point had been made earlier in his warning to the rich in 1:10-11 where
the brevity of life was compared to the flower of the grass that soon passes
away (cf. Isaiah 40:6-8).
There are many other places in the Old Testament, in particular, where
this point is made. One of the most vivid is Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses the
man of God, in which we read this petition: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply
our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
prayer meeting last Wednesday evening we briefly discussed and prayed for the
family of Canadian Christian blogger Tim Challies whose 20-year-old son suddenly
and unexpectedly died last week. This young man was a believer, a student at
Boyce College, a Christian college connected to Southern Seminary in
Louisville, KY. One moment he was playing a game with some friends, including
his sister and his fiancé, and the next moment he collapsed and died, leaving
behind grieving family and friends.
before last I was at the funeral of my 52-year-old cousin. He had been a gifted
athlete in his younger years, voted most likely to succeed his senior year in
high school, had a good job as an engineer, loved to build and fix things, had
a wife and three young adult children, was expecting his first grandchild, and
was a Christian man devoted to his local church. But cancer took his life away
in a year’s time.
also recently prayed for the family of Pastor Gary Hendrix who died last week
at age 73 after 50 years as a pastor at Grace RBC in Mebane, NC. Pastor Hendrix
was active on twitter and on October 23, 2020 he sent his last tweet which
read, “I have kept vigil by many death beds, now it is my time to lay on one of
my own. Sobbing.”
we will all one day keep vigil at our own death bed, whether we be 20, 52, or
73, or whatever.
what is your life? The time to ask is now.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle