Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also be patient.
- James 5:7-8
I struggle with the sin of impatience. I want things done now. I want things done fast. I want fast results. Patience is a virtue, and I’m afraid I am often lacking it!
The most difficult aspect of patience for the laborer in God’s kingdom is that we want to see discipleship results. Walking with people can be a long and arduous journey. We get frustrated at the slowness of our own sanctification, and sometimes wonder if our efforts for others are in vain.
In James’ letter of challenge and encouragement to the Jewish believers in Jesus who were scattered in foreign lands, he encouraged his readers was by reminding them of two things:
1. Jesus is coming again.
2. What you are doing now is not in vain.
First, Jesus is coming again. James does not want to dampen our expectation and sense of anticipation for Jesus’ coming. Of course we hope the Lord will come. James assures us that the Lord will come and when He does, He will execute justice. We will be rescued, vindicated in the presence of those who have not believed in Christ as Lord.
Secondly, James paints the picture of the farmer who waits patiently until harvest time. We are to continue working for the Lord, laboring for His kingdom, with the assurance that the harvest will come.
What does this mean for us today? We shouldn’t expect immediate results in our labor for the kingdom. Sometimes, we need patience and perseverance. We know that Jesus is coming again. We know our work for him is not in vain. And so we continue on, waiting patiently both for his coming and for his reward.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, fill us with patience and perseverance. Grant that we might serve you and your kingdom, always looking for your coming. Prepare us for your presence. Prepare us for the age to come.