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. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 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.”
In the last blog, we were introduced to the growing impatience of our society and ourselves! Today, we want to see the example that James gives us of patiently waiting. Farmers are notorious for their patience. If they are impatient, they aren’t farmers for very long.
To be patient is to be even-tempered while enduring trying circumstances. It means bearing with trials without complaint, undisturbed by obstacles, delays, and failures. Farmers know a great deal about obstacles, uncertainties, and failures.
The reality is there will be problems in your life; Christians aren’t promised an easy life of health, wealth, and prosperity. Instead, we are promised the exact opposite!
We need patience in every area of life. Every relationship gets strained and tested at some point. When you see someone in your family (or at work or a friend) that is heading in the wrong direction, you want to speak up and point them in the right direction, and you should. However, sometimes they insist on going their own way. So you patiently wait for them to realize their mistakes and come to their senses.
Another area Christians are called to be patient in is waiting on the Lord’s return. The New Testament speaks about the imminent return of Christ. IT COULD BE TODAY!
-1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: “16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
-2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
-Titus 2:11-13: “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
We are to be constantly ready for His return.
Patience does not involve sitting around doing nothing. Biblical patience is active patience. Consider the farmer. The farmer does what he can to be ready, and he acts on what he can control. Farmers prepare the ground, sow the seed, pull weeds, and fertilizes. The farmer trusts God for what he cannot control, such as the weather, growth of seed below ground, and hundreds of other variables. A farmer can’t hurry the process, can’t change the course of natural events, can’t change the growing season, but they work hard while they wait.
I have yet to meet a farmer who doesn’t believe in the power of prayer.
So, we honor God with what we can control and trust God with what we can’t.
We need to see the trials and hardships of this life as a preparation process that helps conform us into the image of Christ.
We prepare the ground (our hearts) to receive the word.
We leave what is outside our control up to God and trust that He will act in our best interest.
A favorite story of mine is of someone who noticed their pastor pacing around one day after church. The friend asked, “What’s wrong?” The pastor replied: “I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.”
Be patient because God acts at the right time for the right purpose. But don’t practice passive Christianity.
The farmer and the Christian must live by faith. While we are living, we do so with active patience. The farmer doesn’t say, “I farmed once, I have a crop, I’m good…” NO! They keep getting the ground ready, and they are always working.
Some questions to consider:
-How can you display active patience like a farmer?
-What are you asking God to “hurry up” on? Do you trust His timing?
-How often are you thinking and praying about the Lord’s return?