Summary: Patience is a virtue of love that every believer needs to make it through this life.
Patience: It’s a Matter of Time
James 5:7-12 7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear-- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
Intro – A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o’clock in the morning by a loud pounding on their door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger in the pouring rain is asking for a push. “Not a chance” says the husband - “It’s three o’clock in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed. “Who was it?” asks his wife. “Just a drunken stranger asking for a push” he answers. “Did you help him?” She asks. “No, I didn’t - it’s three in the morning and raining out.” ‘Well, you’ve got a short memory” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down on vacation and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him.” The man does as he is told and gets dressed and goes out into the pouring rain and calls out into the dark. “Hello - are you still there?” “Yes,” comes the answer. “Do you still want a push?” calls out the husband. “Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark. “Where are you?” asks the husband. “Over here on the swing” the drunk replies.
-Well, sometimes it may seem like patience is a waste of time. However, James, the half brother of Jesus, would tell you that it is essential. Patience is a biblical theme that is found all throughout Scripture. We can read about people who had it and people who needed it but didn’t have it. Patience is one of those things that is linked with time. As long as we are on this earth and are limited by time and space, we will need patience. When time runs out, we won’t need patience anymore. In the meantime, however, we need to learn, as an old Petra song put it, to “hurry up and wait upon the Lord.” Here’s the main thought of the message today:
Prop: Patience is a virtue of love that every believer needs to make it through this life.
TS: Let’s examine some facts about patience that will help us trust more and fret less.
1. The state of patience (James 5:7)
7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
-I find it interesting that this imperative from James is not a call to action, but a call to rest in the Lord. Patience is what you are, not what you do. Clearly, we all have plenty to do or we might see more of each other. The Bible does call us to action in many areas and on many occasions, but James is bringing balance to a world that is filled with uneasiness, violence, wars, and rumors of wars. James reminds his readers again that God’s will cannot be forced or rushed.
-The early rain in the Middle East was important for the germination of seed. Farmers anxiously awaited the early rain because it signaled the time for planting. The late rains were important to help the grain mature, preventing crop failure. The farmer could never make the rain come. He had to be patient and trust God to send it at the right time.
-So when James says, “Be patient,” he is describing an attitude we need to have. This attitude can endure delay, bear with suffering, and never give in. Again, it is not action-based, but it does require an active faith. In the context of the book, James is calling for a patient response to the trials of life. When you are mistreated, be patient. When things don’t go your way, be patient. Even when you don’t see the results you want to see in your life or family or circumstances, be patient.