What Tomorrow Will Bring
Bible Excerpt from James 4:11-16
You who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
I’ve just moved to Toronto for the year to, as James puts it, “do business and make money.” Not much money as I am teaching at a seminary. I am trying to imagine how people might have heard it if every time in recent months that I had talked about these plans and changes, I had said, “If the Lord wills it,” or “God willing,” or “It’s really in God’s hands.” I suspect I would have felt a little showy, overly pious, and maybe phony. Moreover, I imagine that a fair number of those with whom I spoke would have thought the same–that is, if they weren’t wondering if I were in need of a psychiatric evaluation! We tend to think we’re in charge, in control.
But however odd it may sound in the ears of a secular age, James strikes me as closer to the truth. Our illusions of control are just that: illusions. Maybe it’s the people who think they are in charge of life that need the psychiatric evaluation or attitude adjustment? And life has a way of giving us those little evaluations, those attitude adjustments. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t make plans or have our projects. We do and we should. And yet we don’t, can’t, know what tomorrow will bring. The only thing we can know for sure is that God’s grace will uphold us, God’s wisdom will guide us, and God’s peace shall keep us. And knowing that is enough.
When you challenge my foolish idea that I am in charge, when you send your attitude adjustments, grant me grace to receive them graciously and learn that you are God, not me. Amen.
About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, UCC pastor, speaker and author, teaches leadership at Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. His newest book is Changing the Conversation: A Third Way for Congregations.
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