Summary: Challenge your congregation to plan their lives with God.
I. 13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
A. Here James is trying to get the attention of business people planing their futures, but I believe that we all can apply this passage to our own lives because we too plan.
B. The NOW LISTEN sets the tone of James. This tone reminds me of a parent to child tone. This tone reminds me of the time when I was a kid, starting to lay down the first plans of “my life”. I must have been around 5 and I was talking to some neighborhood friends and we were going around the circle asking each other this familiar question “What do you plan to be when you were growing up?”
a. Doctor / nurse
c. Police officer
d. Fighter pilot
-I had books on all fighter planes as a kid. I could tell you the top speed of the planes in the US arsenal, the seating configuration, range etc. I was going to be a pilot.
1. Sometimes parents plan what their sons and daughters are going to be when they grow up too.
a. Because parents have big dreams—big things—big futures—in mind for their families and children
b. Some parents plan what grade school, high school, university, and masters program their child will be enrolled in.
c. Some plan who their children’s spouse will be or at least who it will not be
2. We start making plans early / and it is a process that we never stop doing to some degree
a. Stanford University study / 70% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down
b. I once had three Christian goals written down…
c. As a manager for many years, I trained many asst. manager for Eckerd
d. As a manager for Kroger and Eckerd, I realized early on one of the traits middle managers look for—aggressiveness (i.e. I want your job, I want to be the CEO of this company.)
e. The company would reply, “That’s great, how are you going to accomplish that?”
-life long goals
-long term goals
-short term goals
f. This is the same type of aggressiveness that James’ audience apparently had. Look at verse 13.
g. Plans without God
C. But like the people in James, many times we too fail to involve the Father in our plans. We fail to ask Jesus what He wants from our life.
II. We need to remember that not only do we not know our future, but we do not know the future of world events that can have an impact on our future.
A. We think about our lives in terms of , “I have this long left in my life”
1. We plan for the future in 401k s
2. College for the kids
3. Building and buying homes and cars
B. But in James 4 we are reminded in another parent/ child tone that we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow in your life:14a “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”
1. Just as we often times do, the people James was speaking to were making no allowances for unforeseen circumstances.
2. Reminds me of the passage in Luke 12
The rich fool
Crops got bigger
Barns got bigger
Then he died
3. Question: Would have the rich fool planned differently if he knew he was going to die?
Would it have been different if he would have prayed to God what to do with the extra crops?
C. We plan our own lives and miss out on the plans God has for us if we don’t involve Him
1. God cares more for us than we do ourselves!
2. In Jeremiah 29 the Bible records a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the leaders of Israel while they were in captivity in Babylon:
Turn to Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
D. When we look for His will, He protects us from making big mistakes if we involve Him
III. Instead of our will and planning, we should include the Lords will in our lives
A. I believe that God should be involved on the front side too not just a tag line—“If the Lord wills”. We should not make our life long plans and then just say “If it is the Lord’s will” and think we have done the best planning we could have with the Lord. I believe that this would be the bare-minimum of any plans that we make. I don’t believe that James is saying that this is ideal.