Now 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.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.James 4:13-16 NIV
How much of your future do you plan for? I know some people who have their whole life planned out ahead of them. Others limit their planning to the near future. And still others, like myself, do little planning beyond the current day or an occasional upcoming event. But regardless of how detailed your planning is, James has something to say to us.
James compares my life to the mist. It is here for a little while and then is gone. How long I will live in this flesh is uncertain. I may live another 20 years. Or I may not outlast the day. The sovereign God alone knows the span of my life and what my future here holds. And that should impact how I plan for the future.
This passage is not an argument against planning. But it does challenge us to recognize that we can have no certainty about what lies in our future. And also to recognize God’s sovereignty in our lives. Make plans for tomorrow, next week, and next year. But as you do, recognize God may well have other plans for you. And if he makes them known to you, be willing to conform your plans to his.