James goes on to say in verse fourteen and fifteen, "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

He is saying that our life is like the steam, mist or fog that covers the earth in the early morning hours before the sun rises. It appears for a little while and then as the sun rises, it disappears and is gone.

Story:

A number of years ago a woman living in a nursing home in Scotland wrote the following little piece that wasn’t found until after her death. However, it demonstrated the reality that life flies by even if you live to a ripe old age. It’s entitled, "Crabby Old Woman."

What do you see, nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking When you’re looking at me?

A crabby old woman, Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food And makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you’d try!"

Who seems not to notice The things that you do,
And forever is losing A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not, Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, The long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, You’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, As I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now A lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty, My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows That I promised to keep

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty, My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons Have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me To see I don’t mourn.

At fifty once more, Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, My husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing Young of their own,
And I think of the years And the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman And nature is cruel;
’Tis jest to make old age Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass A young girl still dwells,
And now and again, My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living Life over again.

I think of the years All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people, Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; Look closer . . . see ME!!   

 

In Job 14:1 the Bible says,

"Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."

Paul had the proper view of death. He wrote in Philippians 1:21-23,

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:"

Paul also wrote "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

You might say, "Pastor, what does this have to do with missions?" And my answer would be it has everything to do with missions. What James, Job, and Paul are saying to us is that life is brief and we need to so live our lives with a consciousness that what we do for the Lord and for eternity are really the only things in life that matter!

Knowing that life is short and only that which is of eternal value is truly important. We need to see three things.

#1) If you’re here today and you are not saved, not a born again child of God, then you need to trust Christ as your personal Savior today and pass from death unto life. Don’t take a chance with your eternal destiny. Only God knows when we will die. We need to settle our eternal destiny before it’s too late.

Story:

According to an old fable, a man made an unusual agreement with Death. He told the Grim Reaper that he would willingly accompany him when it came time to die, but only on one condition—that Death would send a messenger well in advance to warn him.

Weeks turned into months, and months into years. Then one bitter winter evening, as the man sat thinking about all his possessions, Death suddenly entered the room and tapped him on the shoulder. Startled, the man cried out, "You’re here so soon and without warning! I thought we had an agreement."

Death replied, "I’ve more than kept my part. I’ve sent you many messengers. Look in the mirror and you’ll see some of them." As the man complied, Death whispered, "Notice your hair! Once it was full and black, now it is thin and white. Look at the way you tilt your head to listen to me because you can’t hear very well. Observe how close to the mirror you must stand to see yourself clearly. Yes, I’ve sent many messengers through the years. I’m sorry you’re not ready, but the time has come to leave."

If you are here today without Christ, don’t leave here in that condition. Come forward in a little while when the invitation is given. We will have someone take God’s word and show you how you can receive the gift of eternal life through Christ.

One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 8:20 that states,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."

#2) If you are a child of God, We need to redeem the time that we have left and decide that we will serve the Lord to the best of our ability and seek to please Him and live our lives with God in control. In regards to missions, we need to be a church that believes the Word of God so strongly that we will do all we can to see the Gospel go forward to the ends of the earth.

We must ask ourselves:

What can I do to help spread the Good news of salvation through Christ.

-Be baptized and join a local Bible believing church and serve the Lord.

-Be available for fulltime service if God calls you.

-Pray for the work of missions and missionaries.

-Give sacrificially so that the called may go.

May we be able to end our lives and say the words that the apostle Paul said to Timothy in II Timothy 4:1-8,

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

As the end of his earthly life was nearing, Paul could say that he finished this race of life strongly. Paul said that he could die with a clear conscience in Acts 20:26-27,

"Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."

What about you today? Can you say what Paul said? If not, then we must decide to live for Christ with the remaining years of life that God has given to us. Decide today! I have never heard anyone say at the end of their lives that they spent too much time serving the Lord, or that they gave too much money to missions, or that they went to church too much. Let’s make decisions today that are going to effect eternity not just the present. Let’s pray.