James 4:13-17 (Today’s New International Version)
Boasting About Tomorrow
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. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin.
It is an odd thing. Yet each year we give up half our income to boasters. How is it done? Every year we have an election, and every year candidates for public office stand up at podiums all around the state. They make beautiful speeches. They tell us they are wonderfully competent, and they promise to fix all our problems. Then, after election day has passed, we give the “best” boasters our money — with no strings attached — and they spend it.
How do the boasters spend our money? They fritter it away in hundreds of conflicting, complex schemes managed by huge, costly bureaucracies. So each year the boasters have only one “success.” They grow government.
Thus, we are once again left astonished in horrified wonder. What went wrong?!!!!!!
Is There a Solution?
We cannot pass our problems and woes onto a boastful man or woman. No matter how much he or she boasts no mere human has a solution for all the problems of this world. So there is no point in expecting any man to provide us a solution for all our problems.
In fact, when they never work, we should know it is foolish to listen to the arrogant schemes of boasters. When it is stealing, we should know not to tax our fellow citizens, trying to force “them” to do the good “they” ought to do.” Instead, we should do what the boaster ought to be doing. We should each learn look first to our own sins. What is the good we ought to do that we have not done? Only then, with the love of Christ in our hearts, can we come together and accomplish anything useful.
Look again at our problems. What is at the root of all our misery? To be humbled, all we have to do is contemplate the work of His Hands. Then we know His Creation is subject to only to His Will. Without the knowledge of His Love, His Creation is too big and complex for us.
When only God can promise and deliver our salvation, we gain nothing by idolizing a boaster. Fortunately, salvation is His gift to us. We need only pray in humility, contemplate our sins, and do what Christ would have us do.
Proverbs 25:14 (Today’s New International Version)
Like clouds and wind without rain
is one who boasts of gifts never given.