13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
This part of the letter was a little difficult for me to understand at first. I had to do a little digging to understand what James was getting at. Remember, right now he is giving examples of what worldly living looks like (to compare to Kingdom living). Let’s see what this is all about.
James’ general quote of Jewish businessmen is to point out greed. We spend all this time conspiring plans for the future yet we don’t consult The One who actually knows the future. How silly is that? We plan all these great things for years down the road with no idea how it is going to work. Certainly, we can speculate and get a “good idea” but we don’t even know if we will be alive then! This is James’ point when he talks about us being just a vapor. We waste all this time today worrying about tomorrow for selfish benefit when tomorrow may never come.
Rather, as James points out, we should consult the Great Counselor for our plans and what He wants us to do. The reason for this is that 1) He knows what will happen 2) He knows what He created us for and what would be most beneficial to us and we would be most successful at and 3) He will gift us with the guidance and strength to be successful! The catch, however, is that our desire must be to honor Him, not ourselves. Why would He help us do something that won’t ultimately honor Him?
What is the motivation behind your plans? Did you consult God before you came up with this plan? His is probably better and more likely to succeed.