On Miscellaneous Subjects
By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Text: Proverbs 27:1. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Introduction: Steven Spielberg, is undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities, in the history of movies. He is perhaps Hollywood's best known director, and one of the wealthiest movie makers in the world. How did he get there? He started young, with a passion for making films, living like there was no tomorrow. Steven's interest in and ambition for movie-making, surfaced early in his life. When he was just twelve years old, Steven had produced his first amateur movie, an 8-minute Western called, The Last Gun, which he financed with his own tree-planting business. He actually charged admission to his home movies, and enlisted his sister Annie to sell popcorn. By age 14, Steven had made a 40-minute war movie, Escape To Nowhere, on 8mm film, and another short, Battle Squad, which mixed World War II footage with sequences he'd shot at the Phoenix airport. Even at that young age, he had learned how to make stationary aircraft seem as if they were traveling at supersonic speed. Within two years, he was working on Firelight, a 140-minute science-fiction epic, based on a story his sister Nancy had written about a UFO attack.
What are you doing with your life? Are you living your life with direction and purpose, or are you living your life aimlessly?
Chris Tomlin is a Christian worship leader and song writer from Grand Saline, Texas. Chris has won several awards for his songs and performances. He is the most sung Christian artist for sure, with worship songs such as, How Great Is Our God, Holy Is The Lord, and We Fall Down. Chris has also written a book entitled, "The Way I Was Made." The book is about living a purposeful life. He says, "Life is not meant to be about us, our career, our fame. It's all about God and His glory." In a song that bears the same title as the book, Chris expresses his desire to live a life that is lived to it's fullest for Jesus Christ and God's glory. The lyrics go:
Those words challenge us as Christians, young, old, and in-between, to pause and think about the life we are living. What are you doing with your life? Do you begin your day asking God to use you, and make your life profitable for His kingdom? Are you making your life count for God, or do you live life with your personal desires as your priority? Are you making the most of your minutes, hours, days, weeks and years? If not, what are the things in your life that tie you up, that bind you, keeping you from living your life as God would have you live it? Could it be money, possessions, pride, peer pressure, a lack of discipline, self-focus or personal desires?
This morning, I want to focus on that statement in Chris's song, "Live like there's no tomorrow." This is exactly what is expressed in our text verse. The sage Solomon says. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." In the New Testament, James picks up the same theme. James 4:13-14a reads, "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: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow." Both of these passages present a challenge for us to make the most of each moment, hour, day, of our lives. It's not that we do not consider what we do today in light of tomorrow or eternity for that matter, but it's just that we have no promise of tomorrow. We are not to presume upon tomorrow, and certainly we are not to leave God out of our tomorrow!
Usually, when we hear the statement, "Live like there's no tomorrow," it is spoken by someone who has a worldly, selfish perspective on life. Two New Testament examples come readily to mind. Both were given by Jesus while He was on the earth.
The first example involved a man who experienced a wind-fall profit. In Luke 12:16, Jesus speaks of a farmer who was already wealthy, who experienced a bumper crop. Suddenly, he had so much grain, that he couldn't store it all! Rather than share the wealth, he hoarded it all! As you read through this story, you find it filled with the words, "I," "my," and "myself." It's a sad story of a self-focused man, trying to make his own way and secure his own future with no help from anyone, including God. The Lord Jesus does not mince words when it comes to this man, and calls him a fool! Why? He was "boasting himself of tomorrow!" Full of pride, living selfishly and presumptiously, he lived like there was no tomorrow in regards to his own responsibility towards men, and his accountability towards God! He did not figure God in his tomorrow! By relying solely on his own short-sighted, selfishness and pride, this man left nothing behind at the end of his life, except a pile of grain.
The second example is about a young man who opted out of the settled life, for the fast lane. In Luke 15, Jesus told the story of the prodigal son who demanded what was coming to him, and left a broken hearted father behind, to live like there was no tomorrow. In no time at all, the young man spent and wasted everything he had on "riotous living." The word "riotous" in the Greek is asotos (as-o'-toce), which describes a "devil may care" attitude, living life with no restraint, no limits, and the total abandonment of values, principles or morals. Living like there was no tomorrow, he was caught by just that, .....tomorrow! A famine came upon the land and because he lived on the edge, he fell off the "high life," and plummeted into the "low life" of existence, ...on a pig farm!
Living like there's no tomorrow for the child of God, means to live each day to its fullest for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. It means making no decisions today, that you will regret tomorrow! It means living every day, as if it could be your last, because it just might be! Abraham Lincoln once said, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln's life was cut short, but his legacy lingers to this day! Living like there's no tomorrow for God, will insure that you give your life away in worthwhile causes, rather than horde it to yourself and waste it!
Our text verse should move and motivate us as Christians to live our lives better than we are living them today! In 1912, life preservers were just beginning to be used on ships, the round kind with a hole in the center for tossing to a passenger who had fallen overboard. Clarence Crane was a chocolate maker, but chocolates were hard to sell in the summer. He decided to make a candy mint. Europe was already importing a mint, but they were square. Clarence got an idea. He made a round mint and punched a hole in the middle, making them look like little lifesavers! Those little mints are still around today, and have turned a big profit over the years. Who doesn't like lifesavers? Here are four:
Lifesaver one: Life is too short to be wasted and not taken seriously. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Thursday evening, commuter plane flight 3407, crashed in Buffalo, New York, killing everyone on board. All those passengers had plans, none of which included dying that evening in a plane crash. On that flight, was Beverly Eckert, who lost her husband in the Word Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. Commenting on the tragedy of flight 3407, President Obama said, "Tragic events such as these remind us of the fragility of life and the value of every single day."
This new year is not even two months old, and we have already had two planes go down in New York. One landed heroically and safely on the Hudson river, with no loss off life on the plane or on the ground. The second plane landed like a bomb dropped into a residential area, killing everyone on board! You never know just what a day is going to hold for you! All of us have been given only one lifetime upon this earth, and none of us know just how long that lifetime will be!
In James 4:14, James asks the question, "What is your life?" He then goes on to answer, "It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Have you considered the life span of vapor? A mist or vapor vanishes into the atmosphere in just a short time! Why spend your precious time on things that are not profitable to God's kingdom?
Living in America, we are flooded with choices. There are so many brands to choose from, so many books to read, so many movies to watch, so many ways to spend our money and time. Obviously we should always choose the good over bad, the wise thing over the foolish thing. Much of the time the real challenge is to discern between the good, the better, and the best! Before you make a choice, whether it is an activity or a purchase ask yourself these questions, "Is this a personal desire or a godly desire? Is this worthy of God's time? Will this make me a better Christian? Will this ultimately bring God glory in my life?"
Lifesaver two: Life is too significant, not to be shared. The tragic loss in the crash of flight 3407, is not the plane. It's not the tarnished record for Continental Airlines or loss of revenue suffered by the crash. The loss is the lives of dear people! Planes can be replaced!
Both the rich farmer and the prodigal son lost sight of people. Both lived for themselves and pleasure! When God gives us more than we need, He intends for us to share it with those who do not have enough! God did not put us on this earth to horde our stuff, but to help others who are stuck in life! Pleasure has a short life span, but people possess souls that live throughout eternity! Hebrews 11:25 reminds us that the pleasure of sin is but for a season!
In Hiawatha, Kansas, stands a group of gravestones that boggles the imagination. John Davis a self-made and determined farmer, managed to amass a considerable fortune, but had few friends and no relationship with his relatives. When his wife Sarah, died, Davis erected an elaborate statue showing both her and himself sitting at the opposite ends of a love-seat. (Pictures- available on the internet) He was so pleased with this monument, that he commissioned the sculptor to create another, this time showing him kneeling at Sarah's grave with a wreath in his hand. That made such a fine impression upon John, that he set out to erect still another tombstone, depicting his wife kneeling at his future grave-site with a wreath. He even put wings on her back since she now resided in another world. As time passed, and one idea led to another, he eventually spent over a quarter of a million dollars on monuments to his wife and himself. John Davis had no interest in helping his fellow man or benefitting his nearby town. He did not seek to bless a church with a charitable gift. He used all of his resources on shrines to self. Davis died at the age of 92, a resident of the poorhouse, and his cherished stones left to slowly but surely sink into the Kansas soil, victimized by vandalism and neglect, weathered by time. The Davis Memorial stands as a testimony that the most important things in life aren't things! What are you doing with your life?
"Boast not thyself of to morrow." Boasting or bragging has to do with pride and self absorption. How significant are our lives? The only significance of our lives comes from the fact that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth, should not perish, but have everlasting life!" Jesus came to this earth, died on the cross to redeem our lives! If you are saved, your life, your body, your all has been purchased! II Corinthians 5:14-15 says, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again."
1. Living for Jesus means loving a world of lost sinners.
2. Living for Jesus means serving others instead of seeking to be served!
3. Living for Jesus means making and maintaining loving relationships that stand the test of trouble and time!
Lifesaver three: Life is too sacred, not to be invested properly. Jim Crocie, another song writer, in his song, "Time In A Bottle" wrote:
Now, there's an idea! If someone would invent and market "Time Bottles," he or she would make a mint! The problem is, we can't save time, we must spend it. How do we spend our time? Tom Heymann, in his book, "In An Average Lifetime," showed that the average American, in a lifetime spends: 3 years in business meetings; 13 years watching television; $89,281 on food; consumes 109,354 pounds of food; makes 1,811 trips to McDonalds; drops $6,881 in vending machines; eats 35,138 cookies, and 1,483 pounds of candy; catches 304 colds; is involved in 6 motor vehicle accidents; is hospitalized 10 times; and, spends 24 years sleeping!
How much time are you investing in eternity? What are you doing in your life, that is making a difference in eternity?
I never thought I would see it. It was a full page advertizement on the back of the Garland, Wylie, Sachse, Dallas Morning News insert. The page was filled with the picture of a nice, comfortable bed. Above the bed were the words, "Do Not Disturb. Stay in bed on Sunday mornings!" Now, there is nothing new about people and the world enticing church goers to invest their Sunday mornings on other things besides attending church and Sunday school. There is nothing sacred in the eyes of the world, not even Sundays. It's just another day to have fun, catch up on your rest, or of course, make money. This advertizement however was sponsored by a church. They are using the advertizement to promote their Saturday evening worship service. The Saturday service is marketed as a casual and convenient way to do church. The message is clear, "Come to church Saturday evenings for an hour, and have Sundays to yourself."
Is this Saturday evening alternative and substitute, a good thing or a bad thing? For sure, it is nothing new. Catholicism has offered Saturday mass for years. Those who are advocating the Saturday evening alternative, argue that the world is more and more encroaching on the Lord's day with activities and work schedules, forcing more and more Christians to choose between Sunday school and soccer, or whatever else is scheduled on Sunday. While I am all for Christians going to church anytime, something about reducing Sunday to just another day, makes me wonder if more and more Christians are placing a Do Not Disturb sign upon their lives. The last I checked, The call of Jesus Christ includes the word cross, not convenience. It has to do with self denial, not self fulfillment.
The apostle Paul was someone who lived like there was no tomorrow, when it came to obeying the will of God for his life. In Acts 20, he told his fellow believers of his plans to travel to Jerusalem. It was risky business! Both he and his friends knew that chances were, he would be arrested, imprisoned, and end up losing his life! None of this moved Paul in the least, because he knew it was God's will for his life! In Acts 20:24 he makes his "living like there's no tomorrow" statement. He says, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." What are you doing for God that costs you something? Are you willing to get up early on Sunday morning like Mary, to anoint the body of Jesus Christ?
Lifesaver four: Life is too uncertain, to live without faith. Edmund Burke's famous quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," has been stated so many times in so many ways over the years, but it presents a truth that endures. Doing nothing often comes at a price. What if Able never made that sacrifice? What if Noah never built that boat, or Abraham decided to play it safe and remain in Ur of the Chaldees? What if Moses decided that it was better to live among the rich and famous in Pharaoh's house, than to move out to the desert with the Israelites? What if those early Pilgrims never reached the shores of America? The fear of what might or might not happen immobilizes us. It is faith that pushes us beyond our fears to accomplish God's will for our lives! Hebrews 11:6 tells us that minus faith, it is impossible to please God! One of Charles Stanley's life principles is "Obey God, and leave the consequences to Him!"
"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Opportunities do not have a shelf life. They present themselves today, and are gone tomorrow. If we do not possess the faith to claim them, someone else will. Opportunities that are claimed by faith, can shape our future and greatly impact the lives of others for the better!
If you haven't by faith given your heart to Jesus, do so now! Why? It might be your last opportunity! Tomorrow is not certain!
As Christians, we must always live our present moments with an eye toward tomorrow and eternity! What are you doing with the life that God has given you? Someday, we will all stand before God, and He will show us what our lives could have been, had we laid aside our selfish desires, and really served Him. It will be too late then! Now is the time to wake up and get excited about the Lord's church and His work. Most of us really do so little for the Lord, as we are trying to prosper, to make our own living our way. If you would get "sold out" for the Lord, you would find God providing your needs in greater abundance and with His resources, ...not yours. Determine to make the rest of your days focused and purposed to glorify God!