Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Value of NOW


Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”  But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.   Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:13-17

I was often corrected as a child when I spoke of my plans to preface them with “If the Lord wills”.  But I believe what James is saying here is not that we should change our words, but change our understanding of the value of NOW, this moment, in the great scope of time.

We live our lives sometimes in a rut of get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, and repeat.  I’ve been guilty of push through five week days to get to enjoy two days of weekend, and planning for the weekend without thought of the value of the weekdays.  But there is value in NOW because NOW is given, and not one second more.

James says that our making plans without considering the will of God is boasting and “such boasting is evil”.  The evil is in ungratefulness for the life we have, and using it as if it were routine, always granted, one day after another.  Time is the one thing we have here that we cannot gain by our own means.  It cannot be grown, produced, or manufactured.  Yet we take it for granted, not considering that God grants each breath of life as a sweet gift intended for His use.  We sit idly by on our sofas staring at the television without regard to anything in life.  We become gluttons of shopping malls and department stores, wasting hours of time entertaining ourselves.  We even spend our time resting from having done nothing!

To understand the value of NOW, you have to also understand the reality of the end of life.  James speaks of those talking of business and profiting in this life saying “we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”.  Then he says “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin”. 

Preparing for the things of this life is short sightedness.  Your retirement, your true retirement will be after your last breath.  To die with money in the bank, a good job, and nice material things is the goal of the world system.  But in God’s kingdom the goal is just the opposite.  Jesus says in Mark 9:35 “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” If we’re not serving, we’re not successful.  And while we’re pondering it, NOW has just slipped away.

The time to work for God is now, and it has its great rewards here as well as in Heaven.  Luke 12: 48 says, “But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

If to you “much is given”, you are required to serve with it.  Vesting great riches and building a personal empire while others suffer is selfish and evil.  Having great talents and not allowing God to use those gifts is lazy and selfish.  God rewards those that even give a drink of water in His name (Mark 9:41), and He punishes those to do not.

NOW is the time to do the good that you have been entrusted by God to do.


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