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Summary: Patience is the key of making it through life.

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Patience is the Key (Part 1) – James 5:7-9

August 12, 2012

Patience is the key of making it through life.

Are you patient? There was a psychology experiment about patience. Young children were placed in a room and given one marshmallow. They were told that if they wanted to, they could eat the marshmallow. However, if they waited until the researcher came back, then they would get an extra marshmallow. A hidden video camera recorded the children’s behaviour. Take a look. (Show video.)

Patience is the key of making it through life. This little experiment didn’t just end with the marshmallow test. After the test the university researchers then studied the developmental progress of each participant child into adolescence, and reported that children able to show patience by waiting were psychologically better adjusted, more dependable persons, and, as high school students, scored significantly greater grades in the collegiate Scholastic Aptitude Test. Patience is important in life and that’s not just true in terms of social adjustment and school performance, but it is also true in spiritual matters. Patience is the key of making it through life. That’s exactly what it says in our passage this morning in James 5:7-12 (read passage).

Pray.

Patience is the key of making it through life. This passage can be separated into two sections. The two sections speak about the two different kinds of patience. Both sections have three parts. First there is the command. The second part gives examples. And the third part is a warning. The first type of patience is found described in verses 7-9. This is patience in waiting for something good to happen. This is the kind of patience that the children were called on to practice. They had to wait for something good, the marshmallow. I’m sure you’ve experienced this kind of patience. As a child you looked forward to Christmas morning and opening all of your presents under the tree. You had to show patience and not rip open those gifts beforehand. But in this passage we are called to wait for something that is incredibly better than a Christmas present. We are called to wait patiently for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Take a look at James 5:7 (read verse). Here we see the command. We are to be patient, waiting for the Lord to come again. When Jesus Christ was crucified and then raised again to life he stayed on earth for 40 days and after that He was taken up to heaven before the eyes of His disciples. As they were looking up as Jesus disappeared in the clouds, two angels appeared and told then: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” And since then Christians throughout the ages have been waiting for Christ’s return.

I don’t know what you think of when you read that verse, but for me, I don’t really look forward that much to the Lord’s coming. I’m kind of like the third man in this story:

Father Murphy walked into a pub and said to the first man he met, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

The man replied, "I do Father."

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall."

Then the priest asked a second man, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

"Certainly, Father," was the man's reply.

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall."

Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and said, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "No, I don't Father."

The priest said, "I don't believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.

I’m happy to know that I’m going to heaven when I die, but I don’t really want to do that right this minute. Can you relate with me? The writers of the New Testament often take it for granted that their readers were impatiently waiting for Jesus to return. Why is it that so many of us in our North American culture don’t really look forward to Christ’s return? I can think of three reasons.

First, we are too comfortable here on earth. The Christians in the New Testament longed for heaven because they had hard lives. They were persecuted and often killed for their faith. They couldn’t wait to get to heaven.

But for us in North America, we have life pretty easy. We have food, homes, and lots of belongings. And Christianity, though not as respected as it once was, still is the norm. We aren’t very excited about the prospect of Jesus coming again because we don’t want to leave all of the treasures we’ve built up here.

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