Summary: Our study of James ends the way it began with James encouraging the church to be patient, persevere and trust God in all circumstances.
Part 12- Patience…What’s That?
James 5:7-11- Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
How many of you consider yourself to be pretty impatient people? I know I do. (Conversation with mom about the beaming system). How cool would that be, seriously? I know I am definitely spoiled by being an American. I mean how many countries can you go to where you can step outside your door and be within a mile or 2 from anything you could possibly want in life. While achieving the American dream is a tremendous goal for everyone it has, as I spoke last week, created in us a sense of arrogance and entitlement in this country. We think because we are Americans that we deserve the best and we deserve it instantly. And we are catered too in that way. How many commercials and advertisements do we see each day that tells us how much we deserve something and how we need to reward award ourselves and how instant everything is? I have hit on this a few time in this series but want to bring it all to a head today as we finish out James.
We want everything quick, we want it easy, we don’t want to wait, and we don’t care what it cost. If we have to wait in line we get angry, if the shipment is a day late we throw a fit, if the store is out of our product we scream for a manager, if the restaurant runs out of an item we tell our friends not to eat there. When version 1 of the latest toy comes out we rush out to get it. Then doesn’t it seem like technology moves so quick that right when we are in the middle of reading the instructions to version 1 they announce version 2? So we discard version 1 because well version 2 is way better. Even though it’s like a month older. We are incredibly impatient. The American Dream has created monsters of impatience. Not really the American Dream but the tolerance of sin and the feeding of our sin has created the monster.
Let me show you what I mean…Let’s start with food- McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Hungry Man, Ramen Noodles (the food for the college kid). How about shopping- Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Babies R Us. How about technology…Coffee maker, iPod, iphone (edge vs. 3g). And just in case we don’t have the cash to pay for it all don’t worry because Visa will come to your rescue.
Now the question is why is it so bad that we have all these things at our disposal? Well, it’s not. What is bad is when we let ourselves get so used to it that we expect it and we get impatient when we don’t get what we want when we want it and how we want it. This sin of selfishness and impatience destroys people. And what happens is when we let even a small part of selfishness creep in to one part of our life then it will begin to creep into all parts of our lives.
Our marriages will become unrealistic. We will place expectations on the other person that are not fair and they can’t possibly live up to. We will expect them to do all these things for us because well “I make the money” and they should just do this. And we get impatient when it doesn’t happen. We will lose patience with our kids. We have all these toys and things we want to play with and we don’t want to spend time with our kids and be patient with our kids. We want to do what we want to do when we want to. And we brush them off and tell them to go play with all the Christmas toys we just bought them instead of bothering us.
We get impatient at church. We want the service to last 1 hour, period. If service starts going late we start getting a little squirmy, we start checking our watches, we start thinking about what’s for lunch. See we didn’t come to church today to focus on God and give him time we came to put in our time and get out. Get in, get out, and get on with our lives. That is what impatience does to us.