Humble Profession

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:13,14)

Life is so fragile. Job found out how drastically things can change in one day. James spoke of our lives as a vapor. How quickly does the morning mist evaporate with the rising sun? We can be breezing down life’s highway and suddenly, out of nowhere, be brought to a sudden halt. Like it or not, there are so many things we have no control over.

We can declare what we want to be; we can decree what will be; and life will laugh in our face. We will go into the city. We will continue there a year. We will buy and sell. We will get gain. Really? “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:15) Notice: “If the Lord will, we shall live.”

Jesus told the story of the man who declared presumptuously what he was going to do for “many years” to come.

“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12:16-19)

God calls all such over-confident “mapping out” of the future evil. “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” (James 4:16) He loves to overturn the plans of the proud. This man would not see any of his plans fulfilled because he would not live to see the next day.

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)

We would do best to walk humbly and softly before God – one step at a time. Life in this world is unpredictable. What can we know with absolute certainty? Only this: if God be for us who can be against us? We need not fear “things present, nor things to come” because nothing or no one “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is a solid fact that will stand up to the heat of our hottest day. That will be our comfort though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. May it be our constant profession.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.