Summary: I saw a plaque recently that said, “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!”
The antiquated train on a branch line was creeping slowly through the countryside when suddenly it came to a dead stop. The only passenger in the car, a salesman riding the line for the first time, asked the conductor why they had stopped. The conductor said, “Nothing to worry about, sir. There’s a cow on the tracks.” In about ten minutes the train got under way again, but after chugging along for a mile or two, it again ground to a halt. “Just a temporary delay,” the conductor said. “We’ll be on our way shortly.” The exasperated salesman asked, “What is it now? Did we catch up to the cow again?”
—James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 396.
I saw a plaque recently that said, “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!”
“Brethren.” The tone turns from stark condemnation to sensitive consolation. James excoriated the rich but encouraged the receptive.
5:7. It is not one option among many; it is not a virtue or gift granted to the few. God commands all Christians—including you—to “wait patiently.”
Clearly, God’s timetable is not the same as ours. But while patience has a waiting side, as the plaque and these verses suggest, it also has an enduring side.
Definition: “Patience is waiting for God to work in a difficult situation that causes you suffering. And it is waiting and enduring without complaint (v.9).
There is an attitude and stance that God expects you to assume during the period when you are awaiting the righting of wrongs. It is the attitude of prayerful, faithful waiting (v. 13) without complaint (v.9), by which you will be able to endure suffering.
It’s easy to lose patience in times of great trial. That is what James is talking about. Too many Christians today whine and complain over inconveniences, slights, and minor afflictions. What will they do when they must stand firm in persecution or acute physical suffering?
Context - injustice at the hands of the rich, 5:1-6
God is not going to right all the wrongs until Jesus comes.
Meanwhile, God uses the injustice of men to perfect us. i.e. Joseph - prime minister
5 ways to allow patience to perfect you
1. v. 7 – wait with long patience
2. v. 8 – establish your heart
3. v. 9,10 – don’t complain or become bitter
4 v. 11 – don’t quit
5. v. 12 – don’t make insincere promises in the pressure of the moment
I. WAIT WITH LONG PATIENCE, v. 7
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
“Be patient” (makrothym‘sate) comes from a compound of “long” (makros) and “temper” (thymos). The idea is to set the timer of one’s temper for a long run. Think long. Focus on the final lap in the race of life. Have a long fuse. Look ahead to the Lord’s coming.