Summary: Our lives are so brief, and yet so potentially impacting..

“…you are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away…”

"I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone

All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea

All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

[Now] Don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

Dust in the wind, everything is dust in the wind."


The group that recorded those lyrics is named “Kansas”. Appropriate. If anyone knows about dust and wind it’d have to be someone from Kansas.

Sort of a gloomy song; but they’ve hit the nail on the head with their main theme. We close our eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone. And life is made up of moments, isn’t it? One just passed. There goes another!

‘Vapor’ says James. A mist. Not time. Us. “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

James is not the only scripture writer who declares this truth. Psalm 144:4 says,

“Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”

And in Psalm 39:5...

“Behold, Thou hast made my days as hand-breadths. And my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight, surely every man at his best is a mere breath.”


“The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.”

- Richard J. Needham, The Wit and Wisdom of Richard Needham.

Well, that summarizes things in a humorous way; but isn’t it amazing that those without Christ, who should be most concerned about the brevity of this life, go through life as though they are in control and as though death will never become a reality for them.

At least, that’s the façade. In truth, they live a paradox. A contradiction

Because while on one hand they struggle and strive to accumulate to themselves material wealth and goods as though these things will fulfill them and keep them forever satisfied, at the same time they scramble like chickens when the fox is in the yard, to find ways to fend off their inevitable death.

They exercise, obsess about diet, search for the newest cures and remedies; and in the meantime, for the short-term, they use cosmetics and cosmetic surgery to help them and those around them forget that time is taking its toll, and they’re marching the same route as everyone else; toward the graveyard.

Lynn recently perused some magazine covers while we were in line at the grocery store, and saw one that had pictures of celebrities without makeup. I didn’t see these pictures, but as we walked away she told me about it and said (as she chuckled), “they look just like regular people”.

But this is a good example of how the flesh views things. This is why the young and beautiful and talented will always have the adoration of the masses. They stand before us smiling self-assuredly; easily, with their wealth and reclusion, hiding the fact that they too have problems and pains and imperfections; and they are worshiped by those who wish they could have that ‘perfect’ life. And the most realistic and thoughtful of us, who realize that those people are plastic and false, still admire them and swarm to them ~ because for just a little while they make us forget that we’re dust in the wind.

They are a paradox. They snatch and snap for instant gratification as though there’s no tomorrow; at the same time working laboriously toward earthly goals as though there will be no end.

This is what James is warning against here in our text.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit’.”

A year? Spend a year? You don’t know about tomorrow! How many in the history of man, have said, “Tomorrow I will do such and such”, and the morning dawn found them cold on the mortician’s block?

Erma Bombeck advised; “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”

And that’s funny and we laugh. But remember that the people on the Titanic had bought into the claim that it was a ship that could not be sunk. So confident was the White Star Shipping Line in its own claims, that it didn’t even provide enough life boats for all passengers and crew!

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