Boasting and Bragging

Today, we see this headline in the news: Lion Attack Kills Intern, 24, at California Sanctuary

There is so much pain in the world surrounding the loss of young people or young adults who’ve left us prematurely. We’ve heard the saying, “No parent wants their child to die before we do.” But I remember thinking when my dad died at age 59, how young he was and how it feels a bit weird that I’m 66 and have outlived him on planet earth. To me, either way we look at this, life is short—especially in view of eternity.

Ken Ruettgers, former Green Bay Packer, is the leading authority on the phenomenon of how professional athletes transition out of their game. He likens the average pro career of 5 years to 5 feet on an 80 foot rope. What a picture to show how short a pro career is!

And that’s my point about life. I’ve read that the current life expectancy for the world is about 67.2 years. The current average life expectancy for just the US is 78.3 years.

Life expectancy was an issue in the book of James, not necessarily how long they thought it was, although he said something about that too, but what some believers attitudes were like toward life and God. Here’s what James said:

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.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:13-17 NIV (emphasis mine)

Someone said the Seven Stages of Man are spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills. But James is saying man is not as much in control of the course of his existence as we think we are. And we would be better to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do this or that.” I believe he’s talking more about attitude than turning that statement into a ritualistic practice.

Some believers in James’ day were boasting and bragging about living life without concern for God or others. They were acting like their pro careers included all of an 80 foot rope instead of only 5 feet–as if they were going to get on a plane and fly to this city or another city and live large. Napoleon Bonaparte lived like that when he was about to invade Russia.

Someone trying to persuade him from this act said, “Man proposes but God disposes.” Napoleon replied, “I dispose as well as propose.” Not long after that he found himself exiled a failure.

I’m wondering what relationships would be like if our modus operandi was to approach life without boasting and bragging—as if we’re invincible. Realizing life is short and that God is in control, minds this gap when we believe He matters and knowing its hazardous not to. Why? Because this life is only 5 feet on an eternal rope.

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”