Posts Tagged ‘the brother of Jesus’

I have had some sober reminders this past little while of how uncertain life is for all of us.  Yesterday I discovered that a friend has been diagnosed with a particular form of cancer that will be very difficult and painful to treat.  I hope and pray she will pull through and that her upcoming operation will be successful – but suddenly, life has changed for her and her family.

Then two weeks ago, a friend of my son and daughter-in-law passed away, aged only thirty-five.  She had gone into hospital for a routine foot operation, but while there, a clot formed – and she died with doctors around her.

Truly, none of us knows what tomorrow will bring – and this is exactly what James, the brother of Jesus, wrote about in his very practical letter to the early believers.  This is what he says:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14)

Is that how you view your life?  As a vanishing mist – as something that is so insubstantial and fleeting?  This thought could be scary.  It could paralyse us with fear.  Or it could cause us to decide that if life’s as fleeting as that, then we should enjoy it while we can.  We should ‘eat, drink and be merry’ and do it with gusto and with little concern for anyone else except ourselves, because otherwise we might miss out.

And yet this thought could have a different effect on us.  It could spur us on to live life in a much more positive and pro-active way – to do what God wants us to do and to reach out to others in whatever way we have been gifted.  Tomorrow the opportunity might not be there.  Tomorrow the person we could have helped or encouraged in their journey might have completed it.  Tomorrow we ourselves might no longer be in a place where we can offer any more help to anyone.

James actually goes on to say that we do wrong to others and ‘miss the mark’ entirely in our lives if we choose to ignore what God is calling us to do.  He writes:

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17)

Do you know the good you ‘ought to do’?  Are you doing it?  Let’s act while we can – before the mist vanishes.


Read Full Post »