Patience – Who needs ’em?

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Regarding Scripture: James 5.7-11

If there is any one thing in particular that is annoying to me, it is being long suffering, patient, enduring – it does not matter the reason.

Things should work the first time out, flawlessly – okay – the results should, at least, be within acceptable parameters.

Lines for fuel should not exist. I mean, have people not heard of pay-at-the-pump? If you got something in your grocery cart that needs a price check – the item should be free or let the store keep it – it ain’t that important.

Speaking of having to endure, why does it take so long to order food from some restaurants? They know their menu as well as I do; so why does it seem to take forever?
The little ditty I remember from my younger days is “only doctors have or need patients.” How cute! A play on the word patience.

All tongue-in-cheek kidding aside, having to put up with other people is real. And sometimes it is beyond real; it becomes a nightmare-type challenge to endure someone else, their attitude and their actions.

It seems all too easy to lash out at these types of people and their apparent ineptitude. However, this is behavior that is unbecoming for educated people. Worse yet, when a Christian responds with inappropriate (and down-right, anti-Christian behavior) this action not only reduces the possibility of good Christian influence, but it gives Christianity, as a whole, a bigger black eye.

Let us now consider this week’s passage of James 4.7-11. The entire passage speaks of patience – the constant enduring of people, situations, and trials, without responding in negative fashion.

Patience is learned, never inherited. While father, mother, family and friends each influence our own particular behavior, becoming a patient person truly is developed individually.
Most likely, each one of us can point to someone that we believe is the epitome of patience.
However, consider the examples of patience found in James. The examples given: the farmer, the prophets, and the man – Job.

How difficult is it to persevere in quietness? From your own individual experiences you know – it’s difficult. Yet God through James exhorts not just the brethren of the first century, but Christians today, to endure.

One might ask, “how long must I endure?” James 5.7 provides the difficult, and probably unwelcomed answer – until Christ returns. That’s a long time folks. The only thing that makes this type of endurance possible is not internal fortitude. No! This type of strength comes from only one source: Christ Himself (Philippians 4.13).

Now that our source of strength is considered and known, our other challenge is provided by Philippians 2.14: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” This means everything from having to wait in line at the grocery store to having the car break down, from having your least favorite person bug you to handling husband/wife disputes.

The challenge of patiently enduring is absolutely rigorous, but God has provided the strength each of us needs. May we all improve in our ability to endure daily life, each other, and trials to our faith.