"I Only Have One Hundred Years"
The above are words to a popular song you may have heard on the radio. Although one hundred years sounds like a long time, we are now in the year 2014 and only fourteen short years ago we were in the 1900s. One hundred years is a short time, and the reality of its brevity is brought to our attention more when reading James 4:13-17.
James 4:13-17 is frequently used in sermons, short invitations, or bulletin articles. Having friends and family members whose lives quickly end without warning, this passage probably needs more attention than we give it. It contains the simplest lesson about life and death, about who controls all things, and about the preparations a person should make before life ends. In consideration of the millions of people who are engrossed in humanism and worldly affairs, people need a god taste of this piece of “humble pie.”
God has never condemned anyone for considering or planning for the future. The words “be thou faithful until death” (Revelation 2:10) are an indication that for now and in the future, you must plan to live faithfully to God. It could involve many days, months, and years. But the problem is in planning all those days, years, and months without God. The people in James 4:13-17 are voicing their confidence in tomorrow and next year as if they are in control and have a continuous lease on life. Such self-sufficiency is man’s #1 killer. It is the same way the rich man in Luke 12:19 felt. He took so much pleasure and satisfaction from all his wealth, he wanted to store it all for future use - “many years.” He believed in “many years” he would be able to enjoy his prosperity. It was on that very night his soul was required of him. He showed us a valuable lesson of what boasting about tomorrow can accomplish - nothing. Just make sure your future plans are made with the Lord in mind by prayer and in life.
The reason God needs to be considered in our lives is in the statement “If the Lord will...” (James 4:15). God is in every day. He is the controller of the universe. He makes the sun rise and set. You and I do not have to worry about how to get the day started. God does it. What we “ought to say” is if God decides, we will live, act, say, go, do, etc. God’s will is the key to all we put into our day. Jesus directed those who pray to remember “thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth” (Matthew 6:10). Paul had the perspective of life handled well in 1 Corinthians 1:31: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Now that we understand who handles the day, our knowledge of that requires a responsibility - “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not to him it is sin” (James 4:17). You have heard the statement, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” That is not the case with life (Acts 17:30). Your ignorance will be on your record as a matter of judgment. Furthermore, your knowledge of what you are to do will be part of your judgment record. No “I should have,” “I meant to,” “I planned to,” etc. will be valid arguments in Judgment. What is on the record is what counts. This brings to mind how important the phrase, “help us Lord to apply what we have heard to our daily walks of life” really is. Whether you have one hundred years or less, make your plans with God and act upon what you know to be good.