“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.’”
James 4:13 (NIV)
“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.’” James 4:14-15 (NIV)
In this passage there is a wonderful lesson for us as we begin the New Year. Many of us will review last year and determine to improve ourselves in this way or that. Only a handful of people will enter the New Year without some reflection on the year past or thought about the future.
Some have the tradition of going to church for a Watch Night Service New Year’s Eve. Many will have friends in and enjoy the last of the Christmas feast while they play games, visit and talk about their families and plans for the future. Then there are some of us who just enjoy family and quietly usher in the New Year without even staying up to see the New Year come in. How you welcome the New Year is of little importance. What is really challenging this time of year is to make some resolutions for change, that we believe is God’s will for us, and stick to them.
Our verses today call on us to have a certain view of life. We are told that God is the ultimate Sovereign and for all of our plans and schemes for the future they are dependent on the Lord blessing our efforts. In comparison to the Lord, we are like the morning mist that soon vanishes in the full blaze of God’s glory which rises over the horizon organizing exactly what will occur.
The following poem is a prayer that could be well offered by all of us to the Lord. Read the lines and make them your prayer as you enter 2014. Happy New Year!
Father of mercies! God of love! Whose kind compassion still we prove,
Our praise accept, and bless us here, As brought to this—another year.
We sing Thy goodness all divine, Whose radiant beams around us shine,
’Tis through Thy goodness we appear Preserved to this—another year.
Our souls, our all we here resign; Make us, and keep us ever Thine;
And grant that in Thy love and fear We may begin—another year.
Be this our sweet experience still, To know and do Thy holy will;
Then shall our souls, with joy sincere, Bless Thee for this—another year.
Still, Lord, through life Thy love display, And then in death’s approaching day,
We’ll joyful part with all that’s here, Nor wish on earth—another year.
-Samuel Medley -1789