Based on of God’s Word and personal observation, do you believe that tomorrow is uncertain and eternity is sure? If so, why do many people act as they do? Jesus spoke about the uncertainty of tomorrow. In His Sermon on the Mount He said, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Every day has enough to worry about. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” He is not recommending a reckless attitude toward life avoiding all planning, but having done our planning he is telling us to leave the future in God’s hands. Tomorrow does not belong to us yet.
Our Lord told a parable about a farmer who did not think tomorrow was uncertain: “The ground of a certain man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and then I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years; take life easy; eat drink and be merry.”
Then God said to him, “You fool. This very night your life will be demanded of you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” Luke 12:16-21.
This story very much speaks for itself. Plan, but remember your plans are always tentative. Isn’t it a blessing that tomorrow is partially veiled? A picture we saw on television when our country was mourning the accidental death of John Kennedy and his wife and sister-in-law was John John crawling underneath his father’s desk in the Oval Office. The president was smiling from ear to ear. Without a doubt it had been another tough day for the president, but for a few minutes he could leave the troubles behind him and enjoy his children. Had President Kennedy known what was going to happen in the future, that day with his children in the Oval Office would not have been nearly as enjoyable. The future was veiled and he could have been thinking, one day either John or Caroline could be sitting at this desk as the president of the United States. His dreams did not include assassination or an airplane accident for him and his son.
I thank God the future is unknown when I see a woman who has been a very dear friend of our family since she was born. Now in her mid 40’s she has many emotional scars. She lost her father while in high school, her mother when she was in her 60’s, her husband when he was in his early 40’s, and her brother who had not yet turned 50. She was a happy teenager but those good years would have been less joyful had she known what life would be for her.
Not knowing about tomorrow permits us to enjoy today. Perhaps tomorrow seems less certain as we grow older. When we are young, it is natural and right that we should dream about tomorrow. Right now my wife and I are having fun watching one of our grandsons who has just begun his second year at the University of Wisconsin struggle with what life has in store for him. Another grandson who is completing high school is excited about what college or university he will be attending next year. They need to plan but even in their young age allowing for God’s will is necessary if they want his blessings. Where can I best serve you God? It needs to be a part of their planning.
It is also necessary for them to realize that, even in their youth their lives can be quickly taken from them. Both young men have had close encounters with death. One was severely injured in a boating accident that could have left him a quadriplegic or even dead. A truck hit the other while riding on his bicycle. I pray that these experiences might have taught them that there is no assurance they will live to be old people. Let them plan but with understanding that their plans are tentative.
As we grow older, we still plan but it is done in a different way. When I was the father of a young family I bought term insurance. The premiums were cheaper than regular insurance and I wanted my wife to have as much money as possible should she be left to raise the family alone. Today I am buying long term care insurance. I do hope that the last days of our lives will not be lived out as vegetables in a nursing home, but should that happen we will need much money to pay for our care. We are to plan not to be financial burdens of our children nor the state, but we must plan with the understanding that all of our plans can fail. Tomorrow does not belong to us.
We become more aware of the brevity of life as we grow older. When Billy Graham was asked what impressed him the most about life, he answered, brevity. Many of us, who have passed the three score year and ten age, would agree with Mr. Graham. I listen in on a conversation our grandchildren are having and they are talking about what is happening in school, the latest in the sporting world and teachers they like and don’t like. When I listen to our children, they are talking about their work, raising a family and where their next vacation might be. When I talk to my peers, they are talking about all of their ailments, and I am a contributor.
Not long ago I was playing golf with three men. One could not see the ball. The second could not walk because of breathing problems. The third could not hear what we were saying, and I could not stoop over to get the ball because of a lame back. Each of us elaborated at length on our physical problems. It is a part of growing older. We are painfully aware that many of our peers are dead. The obituary columns in the papers become very important to us. We find ourselves attending many more funerals than we do weddings.
Yes, life tells us that the grave is not far from us when we get to be seventy plus and that is not being weird but realistic. Occasionally, people will talk about their mother-in-law who is ninety, still driving her car and playing bridge. She is an exception, because most of the ninety-year-olds I know will tell you in private conversation that the fun has gone out of life and they are waiting for the Lord to come and take them home.
God’s Word gives us no guarantee for tomorrow but it tells us that eternity is sure. In contrast to telling us that we do not know about tomorrow, Jesus comments on the certainty of eternity, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). It is very certain. Our Lord had no doubts in his mind. He has suffered, died, and was raised to pay the price for our sins that we might be restored into fellowship with God and that restoration is for all eternity.
Like Martha of old, we hear this glorious message but comprehending what our Savior is saying is difficult for us. Martha’s brother, Lazarus, had died and she went to Jesus weeping. “Lazarus has died,” she said. Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha had heard this statement often in her life and replied, “I know he will rise again at the last day.” Then Jesus gives her a word that brought comfort not only to Martha but to millions of people as they have laid to rest the bodies of their loved ones: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live” (John 11:35). Is there any uncertainty about that answer given to a grieving woman? Eternity is sure.
Paul understood this teaching. That is why he could write to the Philippians, “For me to live is Christ but to die is gain.” Notice: in these Bible passages, our life with God in heaven is conditioned upon our faith in Christ. He has redeemed us through his sacrificial death and resurrection, but by faith we must receive him if we want to spend eternity with him in that eternal home. This points out the need for being ready to leave this world whenever the Lord Jesus calls us. This is the first item of business on the agenda of any congregation that takes God’s Word seriously.
If we take these words seriously, “Tomorrow is uncertain. Eternity is sure,” a great difference will occur in how we live today. We are forced to think about what is important in life and how we treat people today. They challenge us to deal more kindly with others, especially those so close to us. They even give us a new understanding of how to use the material possessions we have. If our dollars can help to lift a burden why, not use some of them to help others.
These words give us a great security. Many unknowns exist between now and when we die, but after death has come we know what the future is. We are at home with God. So doesn’t it make sense that we not let plans for tomorrow rob us of the opportunities that are ours today?
Think about it.