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.
It is graduation season. That time of year when we reflect back, celebrate accomplishments and look forward to the future. This past week, we celebrated the graduating seniors in worship. During the North Texas Annual Conference (which we hosted at here at Christ UMC) we celebrated those that were commissioned and ordained as ministers, who will then go and serve churches. Personally, I celebrated the completion of elementary school for my middle child (which means I now have two kiddos in middle school although I have not aged a bit). Not to mention that I have my 20 year High School Reunion coming up in two weeks. It truly is a time of reflecting and celebrating.
It’s at seasons like this that I know the words of James are so true. As much as I’d like to say, “time stand still” the clock keeps moving. James makes the point that our lives are but a mist that is here for a time then vanishes. It seems a little harsh and not pleasant to think about, but it is so true. While the days may seem long at times, our time on this earth is short. So, what do we want to do with the time we have? That is the point James is making. He is not trying to be a downer. He is calling us to adjust our priorities and focus on the things that really matter in this life. Perhaps we can summarize his point in this way: your life is short, don’t waste it.
Our culture has a fear of wasting their life. It’s playful referred to as FOMO – “fear of missing out.” This is often associated with seeing your friends have experiences you are not having. That sounds like the perspective that James is critiquing. Our lives are meant for so much more. In fact I prefer to think more about FOMOOG – “fear of missing out on God.” I don’t want to set my life chasing things that do not matter. Instead, I want to set my life towards getting in on what God is doing in the world, so that God works good in and through me. Because James is right, our lives are a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow, yet God has given us the gift of life. So what good can you accomplish today? Perhaps an encouraging word, a smile on your face, a listening ear, or maybe five minutes of your time. Wherever you start, let’s do some good.
Rev. Chad McSwain