Earlier today, I was at a meeting where I caught up with old friends in my line of work. We caught up on the six months or so between that meeting and the last. Things had changed considerably in those six months. For some of those friends there had been great encouragements. For me, the plans I had back then had not come to pass. It was sobering – so much can happen, or not, in the space of some months.
Tonight, I ate with a friend, also in my line of work, and as we ate we spoke of changed plans in both our lives. And I quoted from the book of James, incorrectly as it turns out. I was commenting that, according to James, God doesn’t give us any more than a year to plan ahead. My dinner companion asked ‘Is it year??’ – and, as it turns out, it wasn’t. It turns out, we don’t even have a day:
‘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.” 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. Instead, you ought to say “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”‘ (James 4:13-17)
So, as it turns out, it’s not just my plans (for a year or a day) that are in God’s hands – it’s my life as well.
I like to think it was somewhat appropriate then (or ironic), that the meal I cooked was made with store cupboard ingredients – a bag of spaghetti, a tin of tomatoes and tins of tuna (Oh, and a garlic clove). Sure, store cupboard ingredients assume another day (or year) of life and cooking – but then the recipe was quick to make! A meal in a matter of moments – leaving plenty of moments to talk with a friend about God’s reign over all our moments.
Humbling conversation. Delicious but humble food.
Tonight: #14 ‘Tuna Sauce with Tomatoes and Garlic’ with spaghetti and a friend.