“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”
(Proverbs 27: 1)
It is our Christian duty to provide for, and prepare for tomorrow. But we should not boast of tomorrow, “for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”.
The apostle James gave a similar caution: “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. 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. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (Jas. 4: 13-15). How it humbles us to know that our carefully-made plans can fail because we cannot see the future. Let us take heed, lest we take our tomorrows for granted.
o Do not presume upon “tomorrow”
It is a sobering fact that we may not live to see another day, for such are the frailties of our flesh. When we go to bed tonight, will we awake to behold the dawn of a new day? How many souls have died in their sleep and slipped silently into a lost eternity?
Consider the wicked people of Noah’s day. What were they doing when the flood came? “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Lk. 17: 27). In the parable of the rich fool, the soul of the foolish farmer was required of him the same night he boasted of his “much goods” that he had laid up “for many years” to come (Lk. 12: 16-21).
Life and death are in the hands of our sovereign God. Our life begins and ends as ordained by Him. In one of his weekly bulletins, Dr Tow Siang Hwa recounted this sobering story: “But I don’t want to think of death!” That’s true but death may be thinking of you. Years ago, my former student, also a gynaecologist, said to me, “Dr Tow, I have learnt a lesson from my late father. He worked himself to death, at fifty-seven, delivering babies day in day out – what’s the point? I am going to go slow, take it easy, enjoy life.” So he joined the famous Singapore Island Country Club. One day, taking it easy, he went for a jog in the early morning dew. After that a hot shower, then off to office, he thought. Stepping out of the shower, he collapsed with a massive heart attack, at thirty-six. That’s life. In life think death: be prepared!
Brethren, let us not take for granted that “tomorrow” will come. Be mindful that each day is a gift from the Lord. While He gives us breath, let us live for His glory. Make our lives count for eternity.
o Do not ignore the Gospel call
To boast of tomorrow is foolish and presumptuous because our future is in God’s hand. We have no right to boast of that which is not our own; not a single moment of the future is under our control. Yet mere mortals boast as if tomorrow were their own. They reason that there is yet time – “I will seek the Lord tomorrow”. But will there be a “tomorrow”? Will there be another opportunity to hear the Gospel and be saved?
The Book of Acts records an example of one who missed a golden opportunity to experience God’s saving grace. Convicted by the preaching of Paul the prisoner, Felix the Roman governor was disturbed by his own sins and impending judgment. But instead of turning to God and forsaking his sins, the troubled governor dismissed the matter and sent Paul away: “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24: 24-25). Felix chose to defer the issue of life and death to a more “convenient season”.
“In the affairs of our souls, delays are dangerous; nothing is of more fatal consequence than men’s putting off their conversion from time to time. They will repent, and turn to God, but not yet; the matter is adjourned to some more convenient season, when such a business or affair is compassed, when they are so much older; and then convictions cool and wear off, good purposes prove to no purpose, and they are more hardened than ever in their evil way. Felix put off this matter to a more convenient season, but we do not find that this more convenient season ever came …” (Matthew Henry).
Like Felix, multitudes have been awakened to see their lost estate. But instead of repenting from their sins, they choose to ignore their troubled conscience and carry on with their sinful lifestyle.
Commentator Albert Barnes issued a grave warning to those who procrastinate in their response to the Gospel: “And thus sinners often attend on the means of grace after they have grieved the Holy Spirit; they listen to the doctrines of the gospel, they hear its appeals and its warnings, but they have no feeling, no interest, and die in their sins”.
Beloved brethren, do we boast of tomorrow? To do so is folly because we do not know “what a day may bring forth”. Do we think that there is yet time, and we can live as we wish without thought of eternity? Let us not defer the vital issue of our soul to a more “convenient season”. We may not have another opportunity to respond to the Gospel and be saved. Let us not wait but turn to the Lord today: “ … To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Heb. 3: 7-8). For those who know the Lord, let us devote our lives to love and serve the Lord faithfully while He tarries.