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Hope For tomorrow

Hope For Tomorrow

   As we live our lives, we all come to expect ‘tomorrow’. This is supported by the many times people say: “See you tomorrow”, or something like this. We are often asked to think of the future. When I worked in the corporate world I was once asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?” When this was asked, my initial response was “I have no idea”. The purpose of the question was to gauge my desire to advance, and to see if I would take the steps and put forth the effort to achieve those goals.
   All this expectation was predicated on the idea and the hope that there would even be a tomorrow for me or for those with whom I interacted. This is a bit presumptuous as none on earth know their future. We are reminded of this in Jas. 4:13-15. This passage certainly points out that life is brief even though it might last many years. Time has existed since God put it into place about six thousand or so years ago. What is seventy, eighty or even a hundred years in comparison?   That’s right – “It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
   This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make plans for ‘tomorrow’. We read this in verse 15. “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”. Many misread this passage and try to make it state that if it is God’s Will, we will do ‘this or that’. What is actually being said is that if the Lord tarries His coming (2Pet. 3:9b-10) and the earth remains, I plan to do “this or that”.   Also God and His Word should never be left out of our plans.   The point is two-fold. The first fact is we are going to die. This is made abundantly clear in Eccl. 12:7. When the spirit leaves the body, (death per Jas. 2:26), the body decays and returns to the dust from which the original body God formed came. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  We can’t control ‘how long’ our life will be, but we can make plans for the tomorrows we have, including our eternal tomorrow. Get prepared! Stay prepared!
     The second fact is that any plans we make for earthly tomorrows or the “eternal tomorrow” must be addressed before we die on this earth. All that is possible to do must be done in this life per Eccl. 9:10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. One cannot make plans for the afterlife, after this life. When this life on earth is over, it is much too late to prepare. Failure to plan now for eternity with God is to plan for an eternity separated from Him. I’m relatively sure that this is not an eternal tomorrow anyone wants!
     So, what is our hope for tomorrow? What is important for tomorrow? It has to be that which beyond this life. As we pointed out earlier, life is short and may very well end for us this day. Is our hope contained in this life alone? If so, according to 1Cor. 15:19, we have a sad and melancholy life. There, the Spirit had the apostle write: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. This must mean that there is the possibility of something beyond the grave. Since our life could end today, should not our hope for tomorrow really be a hope for eternity? Is this not what our minds should be focused on?
     Sadly, most fail to make adequate plans for eternity because they are so engrossed in seeking pleasures in this life and involve themselves with the cares of this world. There’s nothing wrong with wholesome activities that bring pleasure, and there are certain “cares” in this world for which we have responsibility. But God has provided for these and yet, they are not to be the whole focus or function of our time here. In Mark 4:19 in the parable of the sower, Jesus explains how these things, if made our priority, prevents the Word from directing us properly. He said: And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 
   In 2Tim. 2:3-4 after the church was established, the Spirit had Paul warn about becoming so concerned with the things of life that one couldn’t fight the good fight of faith which they committed to when they obeyed the gospel and became a soldier of the cross. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  This means we cannot be pleasing to God if we put the things of this life before God. Are the things of this life more important than our hope for earth’s tomorrows or for our eternity?
   All of what God has provided for us in His Word is for our good and given so we might prepare for that which is beyond this life. In Rom.15:4 we find this requires that we read, learn, know and continually follow God’s N.T. Word. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. This is also supported in Col. 1:5-6a. For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; This hope cannot be realized until one obeys the gospel and is “born” into the family of God. This is how you get ready.   To stay ready – you must remain faithful to God and His Word from that point to the time you pass from this life.
   If you’ve not obeyed the gospel, hope that you have a tomorrow on earth so you can obey before its everlastingly too late.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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