There is this parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12. This parable conveys a sobering passage every time I read it. What comes to my mind is the wisdom of Solomon – “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). There is no doubt that when our attention here on earth is ill-directed, the end of the story is vanity. But what I want to talk about today is how we do not know much about tomorrow – “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand” (Ara Stanphil). None of us is promised tomorrow and this parable makes that crystal clear. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Proverbs 27:1). We must live our lives today, and every day of our lives, fulfilling His purpose. There will come a day when tomorrow will not come for us. These times have even made this clearer than before. We have heard cases of folks who just slump and die. We have heard how people contract this COVID-19 disease and their soul is taken from them in a matter of days. We are better off living our life focusing on all the good we can do today.
One thing about today is that it is never coming back. If we miss the assignment God gave us to do today, then we have missed that assignment for eternity. Of course, a similar assignment might be given if we are privileged to be around, but it is not the same. Today’s assignment is gone when tomorrow comes. It reminds me of that popular saying attributed to Etienne de Grellet – “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Today will not come around again, when it is gone, it is gone. So, as we live our lives, we must make this a mantra to do whatever good we can do by the day because tomorrow is not promised to us.
Many of us are like the rich fool of Luke 12 who was making plans to be merry and to enjoy after amassing stupendous wealth. A lot of us are like that. We get our priorities wrong. We are focused on the things that are not important. Sometimes we do it consciously but a lot of times we do it subconsciously. We are making all kind of plans to amass as much wealth as we can for ourselves. In fact, many folks have now taken it to a different level, whereby they try to amass wealth that they cannot finish spending in 30 lifetimes. For what purpose? We must all remember that no one is assured of a tomorrow because only God holds the times and the seasons in His hand. We must wake up daily committing the day in the Lord’s hands. We may make plans as much as we like but only the Lord determines the steps He will take to implement that plan (Proverbs 16:9). We should learn to make God the beginning and end of our plans, unlike the rich fool in whose plans for merriment God had no role.
On December 2, 1988, I left the USA for Nigeria. I was excited to soon see my mother and to announce to her that I was back home finally. I could have called her before I left here with all my 23 suitcases of stuff, but I wanted to surprise her. I had great gifts for her. I got home on December 3, 1988 at 8:30am to learn my mother had passed around 12:01am that same day. I never knew she was sick. Many things about tomorrow we cannot understand but the one who holds today, and tomorrow, can guide us along. He alone knows the tasks He has chosen for us and we do not know when the task will be done. We must submit to Him completely and ask Him to lead, we must not be like the rich fool who thinks he controls his life and his agenda. In submitting to God, we must let our hearts be where God wants it to be.
I read that Benjamin Franklin understood the benefit of doing good daily. In order to make sure he did not depart from this chosen path; his daily schedule began with the question “What good shall I do this day?” and closes with a similar question “What good have I done today?”. It is a good place to start. Rather than be like the rich fool whose main preoccupation was about how to “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19b), why don’t we start our day with the question: “What good does God want me to do today?” and close the day in the same manner, “Did I fulfill God’s call on my life today?”. It is all about focusing on the day and doing all the good we can do according to God’s divine will in our lives.
– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya