There’s an old adage—if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. James addresses this passage to people who seem to be doing just that. Their business plan was pretty good. They had everything figured out. They would choose when they would leave, where they would go, how long they would stay, what business would be conducted, and even how much profit they would earn.
James’ reply to them is simple: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?” (vs. 14 NLT).
ILLUSTRATION: A while back, the Associated Press ran a story about Andre-Francois Raffray. Almost fifty years ago, at the age of forty-seven, he worked out a real estate deal with Jeanne Calment, who was ninety years old. He would pay her $500 each month until her death, in order to secure ownership of her apartment in Arles, France...Mr. Raffray thought he was looking to the future and making a shrewd investment. But, as it turned out, he had no idea what tomorrow would bring…Neither do you!
Does this mean shouldn’t ever make any plans, just live by the seat of our pants? No, of course not! That would be irresponsible. But it does mean that we must always surrender our plans to God’s purposes. In Psalm 139, David writes, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:6 NLT). You see, God has his own plans. He mapped out your entire life before you born. He’s the boss. He calls the shots and he has the authority. What he says goes. In other words, God is in control—of everything!