“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” -James 4:14b
I’ll be honest- this verse has always been depressing for me! But the reality of hit has really been hitting home over the last year.
I can’t believe the number of funerals we’ve been to over the last year or so…seems like it’s all been coming at once. Even today, one of our good friends was in his car when it hydroplaned and then spun around several times…praise the Lord, he wasn’t hurt at all! But it’s been a good reminder for me that I cannot hold too tightly to this life…anything can happen at any time, my fault or not, that could lead to my leaving this world.
James, though depressingly, beautifully gets this point across in verse 14. He’s telling his readers that we have no idea what will happen tomorrow, that our life is a vapor that appears and quickly vanishes…think of those little mist fans we use on hot days! In Matthew 6:20-21, Jesus says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We must be about the King’s business, and while focused on that, we must acknowledge that He might, and be ready if He does, call us back from our mission. Sometimes, throughout all the different obstacles and stresses, it can be incredibly difficult to keep this in mind. But, we must always keep an eternal perspective. This enables us to live with “no guilt in life, no fear in death,” as the Gettys so beautifully penned.
Especially for those of us (I’m raising my hand!) who are entering the prime of life, we sometimes let James’ warning slip from our minds. Occasionally, something jarring will happen that briefly refocuses us. But all too soon, we’re usually back in our old mindset.
We must remember our position in Christ, We must constantly see the world through God’s eternal perspective. And we must realize that we are one breath away from seeing our Lord face to face. Not a whole lot separating us from Him, when you think about it!