23 May, Wednesday – Ephemeral

23 May

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James 4:13-17

Here is the answer for those of you who talk like this: ‘Today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there, trading, and make some money.’

You never know what will happen tomorrow: you are no more than a mist that is here for a little while and then disappears. The most you should ever say is: ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we shall still be alive to do this or that.’ But how proud and sure of yourselves you are now! Pride of this kind is always wicked. Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.

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Mark 9:38-40

John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.’

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“You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow”

A burglary and assault case happened in my church’s parking lot last week. A 70-yr old parishioner, just done with mid-day mass, walked to her car as she had done so many times before. Unnoticed by her, she was followed by a young man. He made a move on her purse from behind, flung her to the ground and ran to a waiting getaway car. The woman broke her pelvis in three places. She is now in hospital, attempting to regain some form of mobility. Because of her age, there have been complications. Life will never be the same again for her.

Who would’ve thought that one could get mugged in a church parking lot, at 1pm in the afternoon. This is an idyllic neighbourhood, ‘safe’ or so we thought. Crime has never been an issue. It’s a community of soccer moms, loving dog-owners, seniors who have known each other their whole lives, kids who play together in the park. People are conservative, God-fearing and family-oriented. Everyone is in a state of shock from this. It could have been any one of us in the parking lot that day, or any one of our parents. “You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow” (James 4:14).

The circumstances are not ideal, but our whole community has been dealt a lesson in humility and self-awareness. Don’t take things for granted. Cherish your friends and loved ones, because you never know when time is going to get taken from you. Life’s curve balls are that wake-up call we sometimes need, to jolt us out of our complacency. “You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears”. We could be gone tomorrow if the wrong person walked into our neighbourhood and decided to throw us to the ground while snatching our purse or blow our brains out while we’re shopping for milk.

How would we conduct ourselves if we knew that this would be the last day, the last week, the last month of our life as we know it? How would our priorities change? How would our attitudes to our loved ones change? Most importantly, how would our relationship with God change?

(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for all those who are dealing with sudden changes in their circumstances. May the Holy Spirit give them comfort, healing and help them to make good decisions.  

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who volunteer as first responders, who think of others before they think of themselves. God bless all the men and women who work for the good of others.

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