Please review the following portion of scripture before reading the sermon.
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit";
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is our life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
15 Instead you ought to say, "if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."
16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
New King James Version
The Main Truths that I have derived from this Epistle:
1) The length of your life on Earth, is extremely brief relative to eternity.
2) Despite your life’s brevity, it is nevertheless highly significant. Why else would God have allowed Himself, i.e. His Son, to be nailed to a cross in our behalf?
3) The ultimate outcome of our tomorrow is determined by the permissive will of God.
4) There may be no tomorrow for you. Are you ready?
5) God created you for a specific purpose(s). To know His will for your life and not do it, is a sin.
The International Brotherhood of Rubber Neckers
I remember it as if it were yesterday. There I was driving through a picturesque farming community in Eastern Ontario when completely out of the blue, I experienced the visual version of sonic boom.
A certain farmer had decided that he wanted to make a loud artistic statement by adorning his front lawn with a 1950’s military jet airplane! Right there on the spot, I became a full pledged member of the International Brotherhood of Rubber Neckers.
I doubt that the intent of this farmer was inspire someone to write out a sermon. Nevertheless, this hilarious in-your-face lawn ornament is very much a sobering proverb for believers and non-believers alike. A proverb that fits nicely into what James is telling us in his wonderful epistle regarding the brevity of time and how we are commanded to make the most of this precious, incomprehensible and irreplaceable gift from God.
Looking at that airplane, I asked myself, how many secret agents were killed trying to steal its design plans? How many test pilots gave up their lives for their country during the testing phases? How many marriages were ruined or seriously tried to the brink as a result of the plane’s engineers working 18-hour days during its design?
At one time, this airplane was considered "state of the art." In less than two to three years, though, it probably became obsolete. By the end of the century, it had ended-up becoming an amusing lawn ornament that kids would enjoy climbing on top of.
How much of our lives are based on fleeting human enterprises? As a television producer, I have a difficult time looking at my work produced five years ago. It looks so incredibly dated. One of my current jobs involves instructing a distance education course through the Internet. It’s quite exciting participating in a form of education that is so "leading edge." It is equally sobering to know though, how incredibly dated this form of training will be in just a few years time.
The reality of time can sometimes be quite disheartening. Especially, if we spend most of it on things that moth and rust will eventually corrupt. (Matt 6:19-20) Beloved, it is extremely dangerous for one to hang his or her identity on the "things" of this world. You more often than not risk making these things into distracting idols. Of course, please do not misinterpret my message to imply that there is anything wrong with pursuing abundance. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being financially rich. Job, Abraham, and Joseph were all extremely rich. Who though could argue that any of them were not devout men of faith? However, the lure of riches can become a huge impediment in either one’s salvation or Christian walk. If you do not first live for the Lord, you are serving Mammon. And this is a violation of God’s Word. (Matthew 6:24)
A Mere Vapour
James, in his wonderful Proverbs-like Epistle, gives us a crash course on the reality of time and the essence of our existence within it. Here is an epistle that tells us the urgency of each moment that the Lord has given us. It also underscores the sobering reality that without our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and obedience to His will, our lives are utterly insignificant. Would you want to know that your life’s main accomplishment will eventually become a silly lawn ornament- an ornament that is yet another trophy for Satan? Or do you instead want God to make your life amount to an eternal and triumphal crown of glory by obeying His appointed will for your life?