************ Chapel Talk on Galatians 5:22 -- Patience ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This Chapel Talk was given on March 29, 2000
James 5:1-12 Grades 7-8 CVC
"The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience"
Who didn't have time for breakfast this morning? HAVE KIDS RAISE HANDS. DIG OUT THE FOLLOWING: MCDONALD'S BREAKFAST, INSTANT OATMEAL, INSTANT CREAM OF WHEAT. Or what about lunch time: DIG OUT LUNCHABLE. Or supper tonight: DIG OUT INSTANT POTATOES. Or what about snack time: DIG OUT MICROWAVE POPCORN BOX.
Yesterday I spent half an hour visiting area grocery stores. I was searching for cereal to go: a package that contains cereal, milk, a spoon, and a napkin.
What do all these foods tell us about society today? They tell us that ours is an "instant society." They tell us that people no longer have the time or make the time to prepare certain kinds of foods. Ours is a hurry up and can't wait society. Our is an IMPATIENT society.
I've been told that you are studying the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit I want to look at this morning is PATIENCE.
I The Weed to be Rooted Out
A Josh has a part-time job. ASK JOSH THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
WHO DO YOU WORK FOR? (LAWN SERVICE)
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR HIM? (HOE)
WHAT DO YOU HOE? (WEEDS)
WHY HOE OUT THE WEEDS? (SO FLOWERS, TREES, SHRUBS CAN GROW)
To produce fruit, to reap a harvest, the farmer or gardener needs to root out the weeds that take away from the crops. To produce fruit, to reap a harvest, the Christian needs to root out the weeds that take away from the crops our Divine Gardener looks for. When it comes to patience the great weed to be rooted out is impatience.
Title: An Impatient Minister
A Texas minister was scheduled to speak at an all-day conference. He was running late because he forgot to set his alarm. In his haste to make up for lost time he cut himself while shaving. Then he got some of the blood on his white shirt and had to change shirts. To make matters worse, running to his car he noticed his tire was flat. He changed the tire. He got some dirt on his shirt and changed it again.
Disgusted and distraught the minister finally got underway with a burst of speed. He pushed the speed limit and came to a "rolling stop" at a stop sign. Of course, a policeman was following and stopped him.
Jumping out of the car, the agitated minister said sharply, "Well, go ahead and give me a ticket. Everything else has gone wrong today." The policeman walked up and said quietly, "Sir, I used to have days like that before I became a Christian."
Needless to say, the minister was shamed by the stranger's rebuke and realized again he had a problem with impatience.
Think of what happens to your parents. Tires go flat when they are in a hurry to keep an appointment. The vacuum cleaner stops working the day when company is coming. Mom has to have a pie or cake ready by 3 o'clock and at 2 o'clock she discovers she is out of eggs or lemon juice or whatever she absolutely needs for that pie or cake. The plane is delayed so dad has to wait at the airport for 2 or 3 or even 5 extra hours causing broken engagements or changes in plan. The power goes out when they are rushing to get to the basketball game. The milker calls in sick just as they are trying to get ready for church.
What kind of things go wrong when you are in a hurry? You can find the pants or shirt or blouse you were planning to wear. Your backpack has mysteriously disappeared. Your shoes have gone missing. The computer won't print the report that is due tomorrow. The Internet does not connect so you can't get the information you need.
All kinds of things go wrong when we are impatient and in a hurry. But now a question: why are we so unhappy and frustrated and irritable when these things occur?
Do you know what this displays? It displays impatience with God's timetable. God has a schedule for each of us based upon a plan He has for our lives. To us the delay, loss, or failure seems senseless or useless or wasteful and leaves us frustrated or angry. But God – Who is sovereign, Who remains in control – has a purpose for all the things He allows in our lives. Impatience, when we think about it, leaves God out of our thinking. It is a kind of practical atheism.
King Saul is an example of someone who was impatient with God's timetable. The Philistines has assembled to fight Israel. Their army was bigger and better equipped than Israel's. Samuel had told Saul to wait for seven days. At that time Samuel would offer a burnt offering before the battle. WHO REMEMBERS WHAT HAPPENED? Saul waited and waited for Samuel to appear. He watched his army dwindle in size and his men become more and more scared while the Philistines became bolder and stronger. Saul became impatient and offered the sacrifice himself. Of course, just as Saul finished Samuel appeared on the scene and rebuked him for his impatience. Saul's impatience showed a distrust of God and a spirit of self-assertion in the face of God's commands. Samuel had to declare that Saul was no longer fit to be king (1 Sam 13:8ff).
This impatience with God's timetable is a weed – one of Josh's weeds – that needs to be rooted out.
B Some people also show impatience under trial. James writes about some rich people who mistreated and oppressed their employees. Some of the workmen became very impatient with the treatment they received and appeared ready to rebel. "Be patient," said James. "Be patient under trial" (James 5:7).
We also tend to become impatient under trial. When someone we know is struggling with a disease and there is set-back after set-back, it is so easy to become impatient. When our home is overwhelmed by one trial after another – money problems and marriage problems – it is so easy to become impatient.
James' advice: "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming" (James 5:7). The time of judgment will come. And at that time the Great Judge will make all wrongs right, will punish the wicked, and will reward the righteous. To be impatient, to take matters into our own hands, either denies God's right to judge or denies His ability to judge.
This impatience under trial is a weed that needs to be rooted out.
C There are also those who show impatience with another's weakness or faults or viewpoints. James writes about Christians who murmur and complain and grumble against each other so he urges patience among the saints (James 5:9).
There are Christians who expect teens and young people to act like mature Christians. This is nothing but impatience with the spiritual growth of others.
There are also Christians who are very impatient with those whose opinions or viewpoints are different from theirs.
This weed of impatience also needs to be rooted out.
D Finally, there is the impatience, the abruptness, that we show to our loved ones. Who are the people we are the most impatient with? They are the people we live with – dad, mom, brother, sister.
This sin of impatience is a weed that needs to be rooted out as well.
E Now, some more things that shows the impatience of our society. SHOW THE FOLLOWING:
-CREDIT CARD (CAN'T WAIT TO BUY SOMETHING UNTIL I HAVE THE MONEY)
-CASH CARD (CAN'T WAIT FOR BANKING HOURS TO GET CASH)
-CELL PHONE (CAN'T WAIT UNTIL I GET HOME TO MAKE A TELEPHONE CALL)
You all have heard of Road Rage by LA or San Francisco. Someone gets cut off in traffic, or someone does not move fast enough, and an impatient driver pulls out a gun and shoots at the offending driver. Do you remember what happened in San Jose with a man, a woman, and a dog? A woman hit the car in front of her – just a gentle little hit. The man who was hit jumped out of his car, stamped to the woman's car, leaned in, grabbed her dog, and threw it into the middle of the road where it was hit and killed. Then he took off. There is now a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
II The Fruit to be Cultivated
A In contrast to impatience, the fruit of the Spirit is patience. The seed of new life which the Spirit has planted within us should lead to a harvest of patience.
What can we say about patience?
We can't have patience without love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They all support and are supported by each other.
B The Bible also tells us that patience can have no limit. I think of Peter, who wanted to put a limit on human patience. Remember his question: "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" (Mt 18:21). In response Jesus tells the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. WHO REMEMBERS THIS PARABLE. This servant owed his master ten thousand talents. The master responded without limit to the servant's request for patience (vs 26). But the same servant showed no patience to a fellow-servant who owed him a hundred denarii (vs 29). The point of the parable is that we are to show limitless forgiveness and patience to each other, just as God shows to us.
There is an Old Testament phrase that is used more than once to describe God. He is "slow to anger" (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nah 1:3). He is patient. And, we are to be like Him.
C When the Bible talks about patience it often mentions the second coming of Christ (Lk 21:19ff; Rom 8:25; 1 Thess 1:3; 2 Thess 3:5; Heb 10:36; James 5:7). In our Scripture reading the Apostle James makes our understanding of patience more concrete by telling us about the patience of a farmer:
(James 5:7-8) Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (8) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.I have a package of pumpkin seeds here. Do I say to Josh: "JOSH, I WANT YOU TO PLANT THESE PUMPKIN SEEDS WHEN YOU GET HOME FROM SCHOOL SO THAT I CAN HAVE A PUMPKIN PIE TOMORROW"? Of course I don't say that – especially since the package says "140 days until harvest." Every farmer knows that the time for harvest cannot be hastened. There are physical laws that govern the growing and ripening of crops and all that the farmer can do is wait patiently. When it comes to life, we have to have the patience of the farmer. What is true for the physical realm is true for the spiritual realm too: when it comes to spiritual fruit we have to be patient like the farmer.
Think of David. He had been anointed as king in Saul's place. Saul was pursuing him and trying to kill him. David had more than one opportunity to kill Saul but David understood he would get the throne in God's time, not his. So he was patient.
HOLD UP TWO THINGS:
-INSTAMATIC CAMERA (CAN'T WAIT FOR NEGATIVES TO BE DEVELOPED – TAKE SOMEONE'S PICTURE)
Are you like the rest of our impatient, hurry up, can't wait society (HOLD UP INSTANT PICTURE)? Or, do you have the patience of the farmer (HOLD UP PUMPKIN SEEDS).
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