Summary: In the Season of Advent, we are reminded to be patient with God and patient with people.
Title: Advent People Are Patient People
Text: Romans 15:4-13
Thesis: In the Season of Advent, we are reminded to be patient with God and patient with people.
Frank Thomas was a great baseball player who really came into his own in the 1990’s when he played for the Chicago White Sox. He was known for his “keen eye and immense power.” He is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons of a .300 average, at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 batted in, and 20 home runs between 1991 and 1997. He is known as one of baseballs most patient hitters. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Thomas_ (AL_baseball-player)
In 1992, the New York Times ran a story quoted Frank Thomas who said, “If I’m going to make an out, I’m going to make an out on a pitch I can hit.” When speaking of his outstanding bases walked record he said, “I’ve taken a lot of walks… I’ve learned to be patient. If a pitch isn’t in the strike zone, I’m so picky I won’t swing the bat.” (Murray Chass, The New York Times, Baseball; Patience Is Only One of Thomas’s Virtues, March 12, 1992
Here the greater Denver Metro area, we saw the power of patience of patience as the Red Sox defeated the Rockies for the World Series title. The New York Post ran a story headlined, Red Sox Are Killing ‘Em With Patience. (Joel Sherman, New York Post, October 27, 2007)
There is a certain peace that characterizes a person at bat or a team that is willing to play the game with patience. There is also a certain peace that characterizes the Christian who has learned to be patient.
The Christian who is at peace is patient with God.
1. Patient people are patient with God.
Such things were written in Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises. Romans 15:4
For Christians, patience is what we demonstrate when we trust God in all areas and aspects of life. When we are sure that God can be trusted to do what God promises we are then able to wait for God to act in God’s time. Whatever the circumstance, we are able to retain our hope and with peace of heart and mind, wait patiently for God to act.
In his book, The 50 Most Romantic Things Ever Done, Dini Von Mueffling wrote of a man and a woman who spotted each other on the morning New York to Washington shuttle. Sparks flew, but no words were exchanged. She got in a cab, looked back and saw him running after her. She begged the cabbie to stop but he kept going. She scribbled her phone number on a piece of paper and held it in the back window of the cab, even though she knew he was too far away to read it.
She went to her meeting but couldn’t stop thinking about him so she returned to the airport to wait for him to catch the shuttle back to New York… she waited until 9 p.m. and then caught the flight home.
In New York, she deplaned, dejected and discouraged as she stepped into the gate area – and there he was. He spoke the first words spoken between them asking, “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting all day.”
This is a beautiful story that speaks of the love of a man for a woman and his willingness to wait for her. It speaks of the patience of a loving God who waits for us. And it speaks of the love of a people who wait patiently for the arrival of the Christ.
Sometimes promises dangle out there, for what seems to be a terribly long time. The imminent return of Christ is just such a hope based on the promise of God. It has been some time since Christians first heard the promise of Christ’s return. In John 14, Jesus assured his disciples that one day he would come again. He said, “Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-6
Two thousand years have passed since Jesus first uttered those words but God’s Word speaks to us still reminding us, to not forget that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want any to perish, so he is giving more time to everyone, to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief… II Peter 3:8-10