Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3609

Jump Start # 3609

James 4:14 “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.“

  It was a simple box. It wasn’t fancy. Sitting on a shelf in a store, most would walk right past it. It wasn’t very large, maybe two baseballs could fit side by side inside. Just a plain, ordinary box. But where this box was, changed everything. It was sitting on a table in a funeral home. It contained the cremated remains of someone I knew. I remember her soft voice. I remember her concern about congregations. I remember her smile. But on this day, it was a small box that caught my attention. A box that was too small to put one of her shoes in. A box that would not hold her Bible.

  We’ve heard preachers for years telling us that “You can’t take it with you,” but how visual and real that all seems when one’s life fits into a small box. When one thinks about all the worries we have carried in this life, all the blessings that have fallen to us in this life, all the memories, all the journeys, all the prayers, and, when life is over, it all fits in a small box.

  Our verse today, taken from the King James translation, asks, “For what is your life?” James answers his own question by telling us it is just a vapor. It appears and then it goes away. Like the morning fog, like a cloud floating across the sky, it’s here and then it’s gone. Had James not answered his own question, how would you have answered it? What is your life? How would you define your life?

  For some, it’s about achievements. Degrees earned. Houses purchased. Places traveled. The trophies in life. The awards. Being the best. Being on top. Best in sales. Number one in the company. First place in the standings. For many, that’s life. And, when life is defined that way, it doesn’t take very long until one talks in the past tense. “I was number one in my high school,” they’ll say. “I made the varsity team.” “I got my degree in three years.” But as the years roll by, those things simply become memories and milestones of the past. And, one certainly can’t put any of those things in a small box sitting on a table in a funeral home.

  Others, will define life by family. The love shared. The memories of vacations and birthdays together. The joys. The laughter. We see in life that the little ones grow up. They get busy with their own projects, families and in time, once again, one looks to the past.

  So, what can we put in that box?

  First, it is our faith that defines us. It is our faith that has led to the choices that we have made. It is our faith that has gotten us through the dark storms and the scary times in our lives. It is our faith that others have noticed and appreciated. Our faith can not be put on a shelf. Our faith cannot be held in our hands. Our faith does not die when we cross through the doorway of death. Belonging to Jesus is more important than what you have done, where you have gone and what you have bought in your life.

  Second, our example defines us. This is why Hebrews tells us that Abel speaks even though he is dead. He speaks by example. He speaks as one who was faithful to God. He speaks as one who loved the Lord. Some will remember the car you drove. Some will remember where you lived. But generations later, many will remember how you helped in a congregation. Little ones will grow up and remember those early Bible class teachers. You may have been one of them. They will grow up remembering preachers. You may have been one of them. They will grow up remembering that you loved them and encouraged them. Most of us can well remember those who helped us in our spiritual journey when we first started out. Full of questions, they took the time to answer them. They molded us to walk more closely with the Lord. They showed us how to teach. They were examples of hospitality.

  What fits in that box? A lifetime of illustrations of living for Jesus. Kindness. Patience. Joy. Hope. Trust. Years of singing hymns, listening to sermons, and growing through Bible classes. Worshipping when it was easy and worshipping when it was hard. Spiritual footprints that lead to our Savior.

  Just a simple and small box. But it’s more than that. It was a life here and a life now enjoying the sweet promises of God. It’s hearts that will never forget. It’s a family that saw love demonstrated. One can be cynical and think, if life comes down to all that you put in a box, why care? Why do anything? Why buy anything? Why do anything? When it’s all over, it all goes into a small box. But there are things the critic cannot see. Faith. Family. Love. Trust. And, the Lord. One can’t see those in that box, but they are there.

  Life is more than just a vapor. Life is living now so we can live later.