Patience Pays Off. James 5:7-11.

May 22nd, 2009

James 5:7-11.

5:7.  Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
 5:8.  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
 5:9.  Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
 5:10.  My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
 5:11.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Patience Pays Off

Life moves in cycles. As obvious as that is, it can be easy to forget when you live in a culture that is always turned on, 24 hours each day, 7 days per week, 365 days each year. We take things for granted. We expect things to be consistent and available each minute of the day. We expect that at any moment, at the flip of a switch, that we should be able to do anything we want.

The fact that you are reading this web page is proof. You didn't have to wait until the time and day to roll around for the church office to be open to visit. You didn't click a link or type in the address, only to find a message that says that this page is only available when the webmaster is here to serve it to you. Due to the blessings that technology brings, I can upload the web page, post a message, and it is then available, for your convenience, to visit and read any time of the day, from anywhere in the world. As long as God is willing and the electricity doesn't fail.

In the real, natural world that God made seasons come and go. Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall. The moon has its phases, and affects the tide.

Farmers invest a lot of money, and work at the beginning of the growing season. Once the planting is done, they don't have much else to do with those plants except wait. Not that there aren't other jobs to do on a farm, but those plants can't be eaten until they are in season. While patiently waiting for the crop to grow, people still have to eat. That's why farmers often also raise animals, to get eggs and milk, and sell them through the year, in the off season.

The season for harvest hasn't come yet. That doesn't mean that we are to just sit around and be bored, or to be anxious over it. There is always a task at hand. It may be the off season for crops, but what is this the on season for? Keep doing that thing and remain patient for that future time. In a similar way, God will send Jesus back to earth. He will come again when it is time. Until then it isn't right to grumble about it or wish it would happen sooner.

People who become discontent due to the things they lack get grumpy and tend to grumble at each other. It's so easy to do. The person who the grumpy attitude is directed at can't help. They're in the same boat as well. James mentions to take the patience of the prophets, namely Job, as an example. As briefly as possible, Job had bad things happen to him. He wanted comfort because his illness was sent to him unfairly. He did nothing to earn his bad luck. Job was patient with God.

On the other hand, Job's friends came to see him while he was at his worst. Instead of comfort, they thought Job must have sinned to deserve his illness, and spoke to him with a lack of understanding. Their attitudes toward Job were not good. In the end God stepped in and was going to destroy the friends for the attitude they gave Job. Their fate was held in Job's hands, and whether he would forgive them or not.
Being grumpy at others is never right, even if you feel that you are in the right. As I stated at the beginning, life has its seasons. At another season, it might be you who are on the receiving end of a bad attitude.

It's always the season to step back from conflict with others, or trouble with life ingeneral, and lay those problems at the feet of God. You can take yourself away from others and be alone, but God is only as far as you make him.

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