James 4 v 13 - 17

James completes this section by reminding his readers that there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. The implication for all believers is that we cannot just sit on our hands, stay in our homes, remove ourselves from human contact to be doing God's will and those we look up to as models of Christ are those who got stuck in at the raw, human end: those such as Jackie Pullinger, Mother Teresa, John Casson and so on. If we are moved by the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit then there will always be challenges for the Christian, but, as a counter balance, Jesus called us to go to Him for rest, He doesn't call us to become so overwhelmed that we cease to function. What we give out has to come from a well-rested person surrounded by loving relationships who exercise their God-given wisdom to bless others without being drained themselves. In the previous verses, James reminds his readers of the fragile nature of life. Jesus told a parable about the rich farmer building barns to store his wealth only to find that his time of being alive had come to an end. To me, that was partly a warning about assuming too much and partly that there should be times in our lives when we focus on eternal matters. I'm intrigued by those who continue to play the lottery despite having a terminal diagnosis: in one sense it is a thoroughly understandable desire to continue to live and enjoy the things of this world, but in another sense the period of dying can be a God-given gift to the sick person as it can give an opportunity to sort out relationships, finances and-the big one-where one stands with God, eternity and the after life. When I was younger, older Christians would always say 'DV' after mentioning any future plans which apparently is Latin - Deo Volente - meaning 'God willing'. This passage in which these words are found addresses the concern of making plans without acknowledging the Lord. Now, making plans for the future is part of our everyday life. Every day we make all sorts of plans. We make short-terms plans like what to do on a Saturday afternoon; what housework will be done this week; which file to tackle first in the office; which homework assignment to do next. We also make long-term plans like that our summer vacation will be in July; that we’ll buy a new car in September; that you propose marriage to your girlfriend next spring! Good planning is part of a responsible life before our Lord God. But do we consciously make all our plans in the Lord? Do we realize that we can do nothing without his blessing? Do we factor the Lord God into our planning at all?


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