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Boasting & Best-Laid Plans

A classic 1956 hit from Doris Day was “Que Sera Sera” (also recorded by Australia’s Normie Rowe in 1965). The song title is rough Spanish for ‘what will be will be’, with an evocative refrain:

“Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be;

The future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera.”

There’s a touch of simple wisdom here, as we consider the message of James who underlines the idea that nothing in life happens purely by chance. Rather, as believers in an omnipotent God, our fate is in the loving hands of our Heavenly Father.

James isn’t saying that we shouldn’t have goals, or plan for the future. But if we fail to include God in our plans we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Our decisions and plans should be made in consultation with God – prayerfully – and then held loosely, mindful that God has a way of rearranging things according to his master plan with little notice.

As we consider our future, we might ask, ‘What’s my plan B? How will I react if God steps in and suddenly turns my plans upside down?’ Our response is a certain measure of our faith.

James asks, ‘What is your life?’ [v14]. He then answers it with a graphic illustration: ‘You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’

Life is short no matter how many years we live. Let’s not be deceived into thinking we can put off living for Christ till tomorrow. If we live for him today, then no matter when God calls us home, and no matter what happens in life, we will have fulfilled his plan for us.

[BULLETIN Lismore Anglican Parish 9.30am, 6.30pm Sun 25/9/11]

‘Boasting & Best-Laid Plans’     James 4: 11-17 


11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour?


Boasting About Tomorrow

 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.


  1. a.        James 4:11 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, irrespective of gender, as part of God’s family.

The Law of Love is contained in the Two Great Commandments [4:11-12]

Boasting about tomorrow [4:13-16]

Sins of omission = not doing what we know we should [4:17]