Patience is a Virtue

December 8, 2016

Scripture Reading: James 5:7-10

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Patience is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It does not come naturally to me. I think the King James version of the Bible uses a better word when applied to me: longsuffering. I have learned over time to level out my goal-oriented nature with a process orientation. What James describes in our scripture today is the process of growing crops: prepare the soil, plant the seeds, clear the weeds, water and feed the earth, and finally, harvest. I must confess I do processes with little goals. Preparing the earth is a little goal. We do need both kinds of people, the goal oriented and the process oriented. Nothing might every get done if all were process oriented, and major steps might be left out if the goal oriented dominated the world.

James perhaps is saying something else too. The plan is God’s. We take great comfort in knowing that we serve an omnipotent, omnipresent God who holds our best interest to heart. Patience involves resting in that knowing.

Prayer: Lord, you know all our natures and understand our frustrations. Forgive us when our expectations get ahead of your plan or when we drag our feet when called to take the next step in its implementation. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights