Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“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.” James 4:14

At this time of the year, many of us are contemplating the fact that another year has come and gone. Life is ever so brief; and the longer we live, the more true this seems.

Our text asks the question, “For what is your life?” What can a life be compared to as far as its longevity? The answer we are given would be unacceptable or debatable for some, but it is absolutely accurate. “It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Life is like a “vapour”, or a mist. It is like the early morning fog that burns away when the sun is rising, or the brief steam from a boiling kettle that soon disappears.

We observe two things that testify to the brevity of life. Our personal experience verifies this fact. For as long as I can remember, I have heard it said that the years seem to go by faster the older you get. It is true. Having lived for over half of a century, I can say that life has been good; but it has certainly gone by quickly.

Another argument for the brevity of life is when it is compared to eternity. The average life span in our country today is approximately eighty-two years. Occasionally, we hear of someone who lives to be one hundred years old. To us, that seems an unusually long life. But what is that compared to forever? We may live in this life for eighty or more years, but we will live forever in Heaven or Hell.

Compared to eternity, life is extremely brief. Because this is true, we ought to consider several bits of common sense counsel. We should make certain that we have received God’s eternal salvation through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death and His resurrection. It is foolish to live without Christ and His saving grace, and to spend forever in eternal torment. Also, because life is so brief and often very fragile, we should thank God for the gift of life. It is by His grace and blessing that we are alive to serve Him and others. We should learn to capture and treasure the moments we have. There is no guarantee of tomorrow on this earth. Let’s discipline ourselves not to take friendship, family, and fellowship for granted.

Finally, we should purpose to live for eternal things. The things of this earth are temporal, but we can lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.