Summary: Sermon on patience as taught by the book of James chapter 5.
If you noticed the title of this week’s sermon, you may have realized you’ve heard that phrase before. Or what about this one, “Patience is a Virtue”? Well it turns out those phrases have some biblical significance. And it also turns out they are usually true. Let’s see how.
For the last few weeks we have been looking into the book of James. James as it turns out is a pretty smart guy. Add God’s guidance to his words and James really knows what he is talking about. This week’s scripture focus is proof of that.
We heard a minute ago that James is telling us to, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”
So there it is, in God’s Word. We are called to be patient, and if we aren’t patient people, we will be judged for it. So, because it is in God’s Word, that means we all believe it, we will all do it, and that’s the end of today’s sermon. Right?
Are our eyes open enough to notice that just because it is written in the Bible, that doesn’t mean people automatically follow it? All we have to do is look around, even in a congregation. We all have access to God’s Word every day, yet somehow we fail to yield to God’s Will. Somehow we still do disobedient things. Well James is here to help us, with God’s help of course.
First we need to realize as human beings, that we don’t always do right and we don’t always listen to God. Some people use that as an excuse. “I’m only human” is the phrase people say when they sin or when they disobey God’s commands. Did you know God can finish that statement for us? When people say “I’m only human”, God is thinking, “and I made you in my image, I made you to be holy”. As a matter of fact in the book of Exodus in chapter 31 verse 13 God actually says “I make you holy”. Further on in the book of Leviticus in chapter 19 God tells us again, that we are to be a holy people because He is a holy God. The more we look into God’s Word the more we realize, there is no excuse for our dumb decisions. Now back to our scripture verse. James is trying to teach us about patience.
James uses the example of a farmer, which as it turns out is a great example 2000 years ago, and is still that great example. Have you noticed that with all of our technological discoveries that in 2000 years we still haven’t figured out how to make plants, fruits or vegetables grow really fast? And don’t think we haven’t tried. Can you imagine how easy it would be to solve the world’s food shortages if we could grow a potato in 3 days instead of 3 months? Or if we could grow a field of wheat in 4 120 minutes instead of 120 days? Our food problems would be over. But James knows better. Back to that phrase we spoke of. Good things come to those who wait. Like what?
James points out that farmers get what they want and what they need if they are patient and wait for their seeds to grow. But we aren’t all farmers. So what about us? How much money do you get on a paycheck, if you walk into your bosses office every day and demand your pay? I’d be willing to guess that you wouldn’t get much pay at all. Because as soon as you do that, you’d usually be unemployed. SO, we wait for our paycheck, a week, or two weeks. As long as we are talking about money, what about that tax return from the IRS? We wait a year for that don’t we. It seems that the better the gift or the result, the longer it takes. How long does it take to pay off a car? 3 years, 5 years? What about something bigger, like a house? 20 years? 30 years? So far, it seems that phrase is true.
Now what about lessons that God wants us to learn? What about those lessons that will help us out in for the rest of our life? We should expect to wait even longer. And if we continue to think that way, what about heaven? What about eternity with God? And that is the point James is trying to make. If the goal is beyond this world, if the goal is so amazing it cannot hardly be understood, than we need to keep in mind it is going to take patience.