Summary: Whatever you intend to do for Christ and for the kingdom, you'd better get at it.
Do it now. Do it now. Now look if you will in James chapter 5 and verse 13. “Go to now ye that say today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year and buy and sell and get gain, whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life, is it even a vapor that appeareth for a little while, a little time and then vanishes away. For that ye ought to say if the Lord will we shall live and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boasting, all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Now what James gives us here is the story of a first-century wheeler-dealer. He was a boastful businessman. He had come perhaps to the end of one year and he was making plans for the next year. As a matter of fact he had the next year all planned out, but his plans didn't pan out. And it wasn't God's will for him to do what he thought he would do and he became a colossal failure. I believe he has plenty of brothers here in the 20th century.
And as we look in this passage of Scripture, first of all I want you to see an attitude that we should never, never take. It's found in verse 5, if you will, verse 13 rather. “Go to now you that say today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year and buy and sell and get gain.” What is the attitude that you should never take? It is this, that you're going to be alive a year from now? You may not be alive in ‘85. Doubtless there are those in this auditorium who will not be here a year from now. And I'm not just talking about those who are old. I'm talking about some of you young people that are sitting here. I'm talking about those of you who think that you're in bad health. I'm talking to many who think that they are in good health. You will not be here. You will not be upon this earth when we assemble again in 1985. I may not be here. Mike may not be here. Tom may not be here. We don't know. The Bible says our life is a vapor that appeareth for a little while and then vanishes away. Look again in verse 14, “Whereas ye know now what shall be on the morrow, but what is your life, it's even a vapor that appeareth for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Now I want you to see this man's attitude. Here was an attitude of thoughtless, self-sufficiency. He planned a period of time. He has his calendar out. He assumes he has another year. He says, I'm going to thus and such a city and continue there a year—no thought that he might die in that year. But not only did he plan the period, he planned the place. He says, I'm going into such a city—that is, he had a city in mind, he knew exactly where he was going. Not only did he have his calendar in front of him, he had his map in front of him. He had pinpointed just the place that he was going to.
Now, he's not prayed for direction. He doesn't mention God in any of this. He says, This is what I will do. But not only did he plan the period, a year, not only did he plan the place he also planned the procedure. He knew exactly what he was going to do.
He was going to buy and he was going to sell. He was going to be a merchandiser. I suppose he had gotten a degree in marketing from the University of Jerusalem. He knew exactly how to do it. He knew how to buy and he knew how to sell. I mean this man’s mind is really working. He says I know how long I'm going to do it. I know where I'm going to do it. I know what I'm going to do. And I know why I'm going to do it, because he also had planned the profits. He said he's going to buy and he's going to sell and he's going to get gain. This was his forecast for the coming year. His motive in everything that he was doing here is in earthly gain. Not heavenly treasure, but earthly gain.
Now I want to say that the Bible does not condemn planning. As a matter of fact, the Bible condones planning. The Bible does not condemn business. As a matter of fact, the Bible condones business. The Bible does not condemn hard work. The Bible condones hard work. The Bible does not condemn buying and selling. The Bible teaches us to buy and sell. What was wrong with this man is that he had an attitude that left God out of it. I've told you before and I want to tell you again that the biggest fool is not the man who says there is no God. The biggest fool is the man who says there is a God and then does not live like it.