PATIENCE – A Four-Minute Sermon
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Clyde C. Miller
Senior Pastor (Retired), First Christian Assembly, Cincinnati, OH
July 24, 2001
PATIENCE FOR THE IMPATIENT
I. INTRODUCTION: PATIENCE FOR THE IMPATIENT
For those of you who don’t have much patience, I’ll hurry to give you a bottom-line definition for the word itself. Boiled down to the bare bones, patience is THE WILL TO WAIT. But for those who don’t possess that will, how do you get it? Oh, therein lies an interesting strategy.
In an age of “instants”, we can hardly wait for our computers to boot up so that we can communicate at literally lightning speed around the globe whether we have anything to say or not. There is little wonder that patience is in short supply these days, but as always, it still is in high demand. However, the person who prays to God, “I want patience, and I want it now!” is bound for high-speed disappointment.
II. GOD’S DIVINE SURPRISE ANSWER
Praying for patience can set divine surprise mechanisms into motion on your behalf. God does “specialize” in patience. One of the first surprises is that in the Bible, patience is often referred to by the “code word”, “long-suffering”, and that is how one acquires it! The word patience itself can be traced back to Greek roots which mean “to be ‘long-spirited’ or ‘with long temper'”. Is that what you had in mind when you asked for patience?
Webster says that patience is the ability to suffer without complaint. He seems to set a higher standard than the Bible! Read James 5:11: “You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast – who endured? You have heard of the endurance (patience) of Job“…BUT I WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT JOB DID A LITTLE COMPLAINING along the way!
And why not? That’s the human way to respond to God’s mechanism for creating patience in us. God has the sneakiest way of changing our hard-charging “I-want-it-now” hearts into patient understanding as he defeats the devil’s deposit in us of “demand for instant gratification and answers”. The Bible shares God’s secret. Are you ready for it? Here it is, the plain truth about obtaining patience – “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate PATIENCE in us, and how that PATIENCE in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue (character), keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary–we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
(Romans 5:3-5 from THE MESSAGE).
Oh, I’ll bet when you prayed for patience, you didn’t know you were “asking for trouble”, did you?
III. PATIENCE IS A FRUIT, NOT A GIFT
We have to remember, patience is not a gift of the Spirit, but a fruit of the Spirit. Gifts can be given instantly, but fruit grows, s-l-o-w-l-y, from seed to leaf to blossom to fruit to seed again. You can truly say, there is no life without patience. It takes 9 months to produce a baby, and only then through pain. It takes a lifetime to truly produce the adult God wants that baby to become, and it always involves pain, the price of that gain.
“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming”, James, the brother of Jesus instructs. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8).
IV. THE REWARD IS WORTH THE WAIT
Letting Trouble, our teacher, teach us patience is a profitable thing. The wait is worth it. Ask the new mother. Ask the farmer. Through God’s patience with us, He wisely sends the trouble our way, grinding down our pride and pseudo self-sufficiency until we are willing to wait on Him. Yes, doing God’s will gives us the will to wait and the promise to us is “you will reap in due season (at the right time) if you don’t faint (quit).” (Galatians 6:9).
The reward for the will to wait is worth it. The fruit of patience is endurance and the fruit of endurance is continuity and the fruit of continuity is life. There is no life without patience. Get a life. Get patience.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.