Summary: #9 in a series dealing with the book of James. Addresses the boasts, uncertainty, and yet hope for tomorrow.
One day a man went to his doctor for his annual physical. A couple weeks later, he went back in order to hear the results. His doctor said, “Well, I have some bad news and some even worse news. Which do you want to hear first?” The man became somewhat anxious, but stated that he would like to hear the bad news first.
“Well,” the doctor said, “The bad news is that you only have 24 hours to live.” At that point, the man jumped up, completely flabbergasted and distraught. He paced through the doctor’s office and lamented, “Twenty-four hours to live? I can’t possibly get my affairs in order that quickly. I can’t believe this. This is just completely incredible. Doc, are you sure? I mean, what could possibly be worse news than this.”
The doctor then sadly stated, “The worse news is, I was supposed to tell you this yesterday. Sorry about the scheduling mix-up.”
I have always kinda gotten a kick out of the musical “Little Orphan Annie.” The story itself is quite touching and inspirational. I mean who wouldn’t be touched by the story of a little girl, raised in a mean, cruel orphanage, and yet despite her circumstances, for the most part, she always possessed hope. And her hope was fulfilled when she was finally adopted by her Daddy Warbucks and she went off to live happily ever after.
And who can forget probably one of the most hopeful and inspirational songs ever composed, “Tomorrow”? You all know the words right? Sing it with me…
The sun will come out, tomorrow;
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow,
There’ll be sun.
Just thinkin’ about, tomorrow;
Puts away the teardrops and the sorrow,
Til’ there’s none.
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya’ Tomorrow;
You’re only a day away….
Okay, enough of that. But the reality is, the thought of tomorrow is kind of inspirational, don’t you think? I mean it gives us something to look forward to, a sense of a new beginning. It gives us an opportunity to perhaps redeem ourselves from the current day’s flops and failures.
But the reality is, there is a somewhat negative side to tomorrow. Maybe is it not a negative side about tomorrow itself, perhaps the negativity comes from our humanly faulty understanding of tomorrow. Because the reality is folks, we all know that tomorrow is not a guarantee. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how rich, smart, good-looking, young, old, whatever, nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow. All we possess is the here and now. Tomorrow even though it might be only a day away, it is still an eternity away.
In our passage this morning, James addresses the whole issue of tomorrow. Now, he does this in light of those early Christian believers who were so focused on the business of tomorrow and the whole concept of greed (which ironically we’ll look at next week—Lord willing!) that they were spending a considerable amount of time “just thinkin’ about” tomorrow, and all the many more ways that they could make more money and get more stuff, and they were failing to take advantage of the day that they currently possessed.