Devotion - May 27

[Psalms 131-135 / Proverbs 27 / James 4:13-17]

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.

Proverbs 27:1

Come now, 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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
James 4:13-17

I wonder how many of the plans you had made for tomorrow have vanished like mist in these days. It didn’t feel like ‘boasting’ at the time – this is simply the way that we operate. Life requires planning, setting dates, making appointments, booking, looking ahead. Even Jesus said, at one point, that no one begins a tower who doesn’t know how they will complete it or goes to war without assessing the capacity for victory (Luke 14:25-33).

But then we see in Luke 14 that Jesus is speaking about taking up a cross to follow him – about giving away possessions (what we can not keep to gain what we can not lose). And this is the thing: boasting isn’t the sin of looking ahead with the best wisdom one has and planning carefully to steward life in a way that glorifies God. Boasting prepares for tomorrow while neglecting the call of Christ today.

This is what Jesus so often warns against – putting off faithfulness until the conditions are right. It is what James warns about in verse 4:17 – knowing the right thing to do (today) and failing to do it.
I am very frustrated right now at not being able to make plans – may as well tell the truth about that. So why am I not equally frustrated at my failure, all too often, to do the good that is before me today? What is it in my human pride that wants to be able to control and command the future – demands it really – rather than humbly receiving the day?
It is a beautiful sunny day out in Seattle. Tomorrow is not promised. Today the Lord is here, in this place at this time, inviting faith expressed in love. What is Jesus asking of you today?
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