Summary: The exhortation, the example, and the encouragement from James 5:7-8 (Outline from C. Jerdan at Bible Hub: http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/jerdan/long-suffering_in_view_of_christ's_coming.htm; material from David Jeremiah's book, Living With Confidence)
At times we become so excited about an upcoming event that we have trouble waiting. It may be a holiday we are looking forward to, a vacation, or a party, and we wonder every day – "how many more days?" We have this with our boys with going to DC in a few weeks!
Sometimes, while on a long car ride, we become tired and bored. We ask, "Are we there yet?" We may ask it over and over and the answer may sound like this: "Be patient!"
The Bible teaches us that learning to be patient is a good thing. Here is an example that may help us understand why we should learn to be patient. I've brought along a handmade quilt. The quilt is made up of many pieces of fabric which have been carefully sewn together to make a lovely pattern. If you look closely we will see that the quilt is held together with very tiny stitches. Expert quilters like to make 10 to 12 stitches within each inch. That takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience.
Someone had a great deal of patience to make this quilt. Hours and hours were spent choosing the right material, cutting the pieces, joining the pieces and then quilting the layers of the quilt together. A beautiful quilt has been created because the quilter was patient. This quilt is used on my bed to keep me warm. Quilters are patient and generous people. They often give the quilts they make to others. I know of quilters who make quilts for people who are sick and need to be comforted.
From Lectionary.org: http://www.lectionary.org/ChildSermons/NT/20-James/James.5.07-10.Patience-Edstrom.htm
Before these verses James is denouncing the rich who treat the poor unjustly. Probably few of these rich were going to read this letter (many of them non Christians) so really talking to the Christians who were suffering from their oppression and giving them encouragement to stand firm. In these verses James comes back to talking directly to the church. In this context James talks about the Lord’s Second Coming. While this would cause the doom of the wicked rich, this would also deliver God’s people. This same event, which the wicked rich should think about with weeping and wailing (James 5:1), would be to the righteous a joyful and eternal relief.
Thesis: The exhortation, the example, and the encouragement
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.” “You too, be patient”
From the day of our baptism until our death or the Lord’s return, we wait patiently. Like many of us, the apostle Paul did not enjoy delays. He was passionate about evangelizing, mentoring young Christians, and shepherding whole congregations all at the same time. Yet he was also a man who knew and trusted God enough to know how to trust God’s schedule. As he wrote letters from prison, we might expect him to be fuming against the obstacles that hindered all the things he wanted to do for God. What we find is just the opposite. He wrote his friends at Philippi, ““I am in chains for Christ.” Philippians 1:13, NIV. He told how he was able to share the gospel with the palace guard, and how many had grown bolder in their faith because of what was happening to hi. A letter of anguish for anyone else becomes a letter of joy for Paul.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul gives us the greatest paragraphs on love that were ever written, and patience finds it ways into the mix. Right off the bat, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV. Then, when we look at the fruit of the Spirit we find: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians 5:22, NIV. Paul had a high regard for this quality. If patience is so important, why is it so difficult? Lord, give me patience and give it to me now.
Patience is only learned through pain, troubles and tribulation. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3, 4, NIV. When I begin a new day, tribulation is not only my lists of requests to God: “Lord, can you hit me with something nerve racking today? My character needs a good test!” Silly but if Christian maturity is our goal, then need to start praying this way. Really no need to pray for troubles, they seem to come our way naturally. This world is fallen and God wants us to grow. James stands with Paul in telling us to embrace the qualities of patience; to cultivate it during tough times, and to depend upon it to inspire us.