Summary: Be patient! The Lord is coming soon!
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Lord grant me patience to deal with all the troubles and situations in my life which cause me stress and anger…oh, and Lord…please hurry with that!”
Does that sound like your prayers? Perhaps it does. Because by nature we are a very impatient people. Patience is not a virtue, and in fact our impatience almost always leads to problems. And I think as time goes on people are becoming more and more impatient.
As more and more technology affords us with the ability to get things at record speed, we sort of take that characteristic and try and apply it to everything.
Think of the most successful businesses today: McDonalds, Amazon.com, Google, Time Warner, Comcast. The faster, the better, right? The faster we can have our burger or get our order from the internet, the faster the download, the better. Houses are being built in literally weeks where it used to take months or maybe even a year or more.
You’re going to laugh at this, and maybe you already know, but there are churches who are trying to appeal to this “need it now”, “on the go” lifestyle by offering drive-through Communion. You literally pull up to the drive through window at the church, you make your order by choosing common cup or individual cup, wine or grape juice, regular bread or gluten free, and a few moments later a pastor or elder opens the window and hands you your customized, quick and supposedly consecrated communion, and then off you go about your day.
Here in the Christmas season…you’d think it bring out the best in people. But every year I hear more and more stories of shoppers fighting over, and I mean fist fighting over that last box on the shelf, that last holiday special. I remember when I used to work in retail. I would have to get to the store an hour to an hour and a half early to setup for the big sales, to make sure there’s enough money in the tills, and to make sure all of the stock was out. I don’t kid you, 2 hours before the store opened, there was already a line of people outside, in the dark, waiting to get in to get their hands on that wrench set or that screw driver before anyone else. The funny thing was that we could always order more product for customers and it’d be there in just a few days.
And impatience, what does it lead to? Grumbling, right? You know how when in the checkout line at Walmart there’s always that one person with way too many things in the cart, and they don’t seem to know where their wallet is, and when they find it what do they do? Instead of taking out the debit card, they take out a checkbook and they start to write. Or they have a debit card but they are clueless when it comes to how to use it. And you just want to grab that checkbook and write it out for them, or that debit card and swipe it and punch the machine for them and send them on their way…impatience leads to grumbling.
Impatience is sin. Impatience is sin – when we come to an intersection and that stoplight is yellow and just about red, it’s not a good (or safe) thing to speed up and even run it when it’s red. It’s not a good thing when we start to rev our engine while in the drive through at Chick-fil-a, and the person in front of us has their food but refuses to leave the window.
Impatience is sin. Patience ought to be our way of life! We are in God’s hands. It is not our ability to be at the head of the pack, first in line, quick and efficient, which makes the world a better place, but it is God and His promise to us that HAS made this world a better place, has made our lives better, and will safely and most assuredly get us to our final destination at the right time and in the right way.
James uses the example of a farmer. Now I don’t know if any of you have ever done farming or have driven through the plain states, but I am from an area where large, huge farms grow things like potatoes, peas, corn…lots of corn. And I tell you that farming has not really changed much in the past 2000 years. Sure we have bigger machinery and newer technology, but the basic premise is the same: you throw a seed in the ground, you water it, and in a few months you have a crop. Corn takes 4 to 5 months to grow, depending on the climate. Peas take a month or month and a half, potatoes take while, and if you become impatient and you start digging around at things, or over watering or over fertilizing, you end up destroying the crop. Farming requires lots and lots of patience. You can’t force a seed to sprout, but it grows when it grows and that’s that.