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Question and Answer

James 4:14 says, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow.” Since we do not know what will happen tomorrow or even in the next moment, is it biblical for us to plan or prepare for the future?

The Scriptures never cease to amaze me! James’s observation that we do not know what life will be like tomorrow strips us of pride about any claims we might make of being the captain of our own future. Still, the Bible does not teach that planning and preparing for the future is wrong. Rather, it is wise (Prov. 6:6–11; 10:5)!

In James 4, the author is speaking specifically to some people in the church who had planned a business trip. They focused on their plans for the future: “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money” (v. 13). The problem was not the planning itself nor their desire to go into an honorable business to make a profit, but rather imagining that their future was within their control.

Notice what James says in verse 14: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” We may think we know what will happen the next day, but in reality, we don’t. We are wrong when we plan for the future without taking God’s will into consideration. Instead, we have to follow God’s guidance and His calling for our lives. God may call some of us

to be business people. A business owner not only earns an income but also provides people with jobs, stimulates the economy, and most importantly, gives to the Lord’s work.

But God also calls every believer to be a full-time minister of the gospel. God may be calling some of you to go into business—and to model Christlike character in the work world.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely (B.A., D.Min. Trinity International University; M.A. Wheaton) is currently working towards an advanced research degree in Old Testament at the University of Bristol, England. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel and a full-time professor of hermeneutics, homiletics, and pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Moody, Winfred served churches in the City of Chicago and is currently interim pastor of the Judson Baptist Church in Oak Park, IL. He brings to his ministry a global perspective, having served as a missionary/pastor in Senegal, West Africa for nine years. He is also involved in a global equipping ministry, speaking and conducting workshops and training events at churches and conferences in the US and abroad. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. He takes acting classes from time to time and is an ardent fan of science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek.

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