Thinking Biblically

Just A Vapor

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. ~James 4:13-16

This morning Jason received an e-mail from his youth pastor, informing him that a friend, from his church youth group, had died early Saturday morning of an aortic aneurysm. She was married, and 8 months pregnant (the baby died as well). I did not know her, only of her. But, I would assume that she did not plan on dying – at least not on Saturday. At 8 months pregnant, she was probably excitedly preparing for the arrival of their baby girl. She was probably looking forward to being a mom, decorating the nursery, buying baby clothes, attending baby showers…doing all of those things that you do when you are expecting a new baby….
But, the truth is, none of us know. None of us can count on tomorrow. Every moment we have is a gift from God, not a right. James 4:14 says “…you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.” I have been studying the book of Ecclesiastes recently, and have been confronted with how short life really is – and this girl’s death was a very vivid reminder of that. I am a list-maker, and a planner, and often a procrastinator. I know that I have said, on many occasions, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” with little, if any, thought to God’s will. I get so overwhelmed by the little details of day-to-day life. And, the things that really matter, in light of eternity, get pushed to the back burner – sometimes off the stove altogether! Ecclesiastes closes by saying that the whole duty of man is to fear God, and keep his commandments, for God will judge every action, whether it is good or evil. That’s it, the whole duty of man – both extremely overwhelming, but extremely freeing at the same time. Jonathan Edwards said the following in his Resolutions:
“Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” ~Jonathan Edwards
We don’t know if we will have a tomorrow, or what it will be like. We don’t know if it is the last hour of our life on earth. If that was our perspective, would it change how we live? Jason’s youth pastor closed his e-mail with the admonition to “hug your spouse and kids today.”
Oh, if this should be my last day here on earth,
How then shall I live?
Oh, if this should be the last day that I have,
Before I breathe the air of heaven,
Let me live it with abandon to
The only thing that remains
After my last day here on earth.
~Steven Curtis Chapman, Last Day On Earth
(from the album All Things New)