Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Here James begins speaking, apparently, to a group of business men who were making plans. We need to say, first of all, that God does not oppose the making of plans, and God does not oppose success in business or even the accumulation of wealth. There is nothing to suggest in all of God’s Word that we are to just drift around life, awaiting God to drop things into our lives. What we see over and over is that hard word and industriousness is commended by God. A look at men such as Abraham or Job would also show us that God certainly does not oppose His people becoming financially successful.
The men even had what seemed like a model business plan. They had a plan, a place, a period, a purpose and a profit all calculated out to ensure their success. Once again, it seems to be a model business plan on the part of these gentlemen. What were they being faulted for, then?
As we will see as we study this passage in more detail, the fact of the well though out plan was not the issue; the issue turns out to be the fact that they had left God out of their plan. They had a well thought out plan, but not a well prayed out plan.
Let’s look quickly at some things the Bible says about the value of planning for the future.
The story of Joseph counseling Pharaoh to plan for the future famine coming to Egypt in Genesis 41.
Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
Proverbs 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
The entire book of Nehemiah is about a man who had a well planned and executed plan.
The entire Book of Proverbs is simply packed with guidance to be diligent, well prepared, and industrious in the conduct of our lives.
The reason I have placed so much emphasis on this is to dispel a somewhat common perception among non believers, and even among some believers that, because God is sovereign(and He is!) that we just drift through life awaiting whatever way or direction God will push us in. We can see easily and clearly that this is simply NOT true.
What was the problem then? These fellows had a great plan; it seemed extremely well thought out and developed. Why, it seems like a Biblical model of planning. What could be wrong here?
Stay tuned and see.