Life is a Vapor
About two months ago, I was working on an assignment given during a session in The School of Life. I reached out to my networks to find out if they had ever lost their loved ones. I was to get their loved ones’ age, gender, profession, marital status, and cause of death.
I sent WhatsApp messages to about 85 people, and some did not respond. However, I got more responses than I anticipated. It was clear that most of us have experienced the losses of our loved ones, neighbors, and people in our communities. Most of these losses are usually not anticipated.
One personal experience still fresh in my memory is a guy with whom I thought we were not close friends per se, but we had close family ties because our parents were close friends. He was a banker by profession. One Saturday morning, he left for Nakuru for a job errand. He was alone in the car. That happened to be the day the Sachangwan fire killed many. An overturned truck’s highly flammable oil spill. Forthwith bystanders saw an opportunity to siphon the fuel, and they pushed and shoved to get some oil. A cigarette smoker lit a cigarette and boom fire was everywhere. Many were consumed in seconds as the fire spread wildly consuming everything in sight.
My friend was one of the victims. He was burnt to ashes. Only his ashes were available for burial rites. The extremely hot vapor burned his car beyond recognition. He had just gotten married to the love of his life. They had hardly opened the gifts received at their wedding.
Indeed we can see that life is just but a vapor. Today you are here, but tomorrow you are nowhere gone without a trace.
During another class meeting, we were asked to name our great-grandmothers. None of us knew their names yet, one day, God willing, we will become great-grandparents and our great-grandkids will probably not know who we were or worse, even know our names.
God Confidence in place of Self-Confidence
Look here, you say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will spend a year, do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. You should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”Otherwise, you are boasting about your pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.Remember, it is a sin to know what you should do and then not do it.
Life is short and uncertain; hence, we can take unexpected turns at any moment. But interestingly, few of us live like we’re aware of it. We go on about life as if we will live forever. We must acknowledge God’s hand in our lives, bearing in mind that we don’t have control of how a day turns out, let alone a year.
According to George Bernard Shaw, One out of one person die. (daily or which frequency I’m also not sure if the sentence makes sense). Everyone will stand before God for judgment. But people easily forget and continue with their daily routines without seeking to live a life that is pleasing to God. Jesus said to his disciples that anyone who does not repent will perish (Luke 13:2-5).
The constant tragedies we see daily on media platforms should serve as a reminder that life is uncertain. which in turn leads us to a place of turning to God and seeking His help to lead us through life.
James, the apostle, wants us to remember God’s hand in our lives. Most of us presume and plan our lives around our ambitions. James is confronting the boastful pride of life he had observed among Christians in the churches he was pastoring. They would plan their lives without considering their mortality and God’s sovereignty. Not so different from the parable of the rich fool. He planned as if he had a guaranteed lifetime ahead of him. He planned to build bigger storage for his produce to secure his future. But he did not know that God would lay claim over his life that very night and he would leave his riches to be squandered by others.
Moses compares life to the grass that grows in the field that shoots in the morning, and by evening, it has withered because of the hot sun. In Psalms 90: 10, Moses says, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.” It doesn’t matter how long one lives. Only God can give one the wisdom to spend each day profitably in light of eternity.
Making Every Moment Matter
Life is short. To understand the value of time, one has to take stock of how you spent your last hour, day, week, month, and year, to see how you have invested your time. This will help us to see how easy it is to waste one’s life. We need God to teach us how to number our days so our hearts may be full of wisdom to realize how brief life is and the vanity in many things we value.
The question is, how can we make every moment of our lives matter?
The answer is, that when we put our lives in God’s hands, we can give our finite life infinite possibilities. What we do while here on earth has an eternal impact and can bring glory to an infinite God.
In our past blogs, we have looked at life as a journey, a spirit, a race, and a market, and we concluded that beyond life here on earth, there is endless eternal life. And what we do on this side of life determines how we will live in eternity. We are called to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by God.
Resources such as time, money, talents, and the people in our lives. Despite the vaporous nature of life, planning is encouraged in Scripture (Luke 14:28-32; Rom. 15:20-28). We should save enough for unforeseen losses in life. Everyone should work hard and earn from the work of their hands. However, in all these things, we should acknowledge God’s sovereignty and our limitations as human beings. We should not put our trust in our earnings but in God, who can provide security for the future.
Economies of the world can crash at any point, and systems can fail. War can break out at any time in any country. How we conduct our businesses should bring glory to God? He should be seen as sovereign in your business. Your Business is not a different entity from your church. Jesus is Lord in your business and every other area of your life. He should be in charge of how you run it in all areas of your life.
Write out God’s purpose for your life and in line with the purpose, write down what you will have accomplished in this life that matters even in eternity. Draw out a system of how you intend to fulfill this purpose. Review them periodically and adjust them as you prayerfully seek God’s guidance. You can reach out through this email for assistance. I will be glad to assist.
Joy Minayo is a disciple-maker in the Activate Kenya community, and she enjoys using online media writing blogs to help mobilize disciples towards reaching the unreached.
James 4:13 come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit.”. (n.d.). Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. https://biblehub.com/james/4-13.htm
James 4:16 NLT: Otherwise you are boasting about your pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. (n.d.). Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. https://biblehub.com/nlt/james/4-16.htm
Lesson 18: Life is a vapor (James 4:13-17). (2013, May 30). Bible.org | Where the World Comes to Study the Bible. https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-18-life-vapor-james-413-17
An overview of James Chapter 4: Maturity in humility. (2019, September 17). Simply Gospel. https://simplygospel.net/2019/09/19/an-overview-of-james-chapter-4-maturity-in-humility/
(2022, March 23). Passionate Life. https://passionatetrip.blogspot.com/