CLERGY CORNER: The value of patience

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

One of the challenges that many of us face in 21st Century living is the ability to be patient. The advancements and conveniences of our modern day have conditioned us to expect immediate gratification rather than eventual fulfillment. ATM machines give us instant cash, drive-thru windows enable us to get our meals in mere minutes and self-checkout areas help us to avoid the lines at the grocery store. As a result, we attempt to get more done since we expect speedy execution, but we often face frustration when we are delayed in accomplishing our objectives.

Nature’s way to fulfillment always involves conception, then process and eventual manifestation. We are not born fully mature, for example, but must go through stages of development which lead to our becoming fully grown. In agriculture, farmers know that the seed they plant today will need time to develop into the crop that they desire. Wheat, the most widely harvested crop in the world, takes about 120 days between the actions of planting and reaping. Lottery tickets and casinos tease us with the promise of quick riches, but any financial planner worth his fee will advise you that real wealth is amassed over time. A quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson advises, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

The Bible has much to say about patience and our need to possess it. In Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV), King Solomon observed, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” The apostle Paul proclaims, in Romans 5:3 (MKJV) that believers should “Glory in afflictions…knowing that afflictions work out patience.” A similar sentiment is expressed in James 1:3 (NKJV), “The testing of your faith produces patience.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) draws upon the agricultural principles related to securing a harvest: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

The value of patience is in its ability to keep us steady and grounded in the process between desire and fulfillment. It is cultivated in the delays and disappointments of life as we attempt to achieve our goals for work, family, education and the like. As Billy Graham once remarked, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” To resist the natural ebb and flow of life is to live with daily stress, anxiety and frustration. We cannot control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond. Better to relax and trust that if you wait, the good that you desire and work for will indeed come.

Pearle Wait, the inventor of Jell-O, wasn’t satisfied with the meager results he saw after a just few months of peddling his product door to door in 1897. He sold all the rights to it for $450 to a man who apparently had a better understanding of marketing and patience. In less than eight years, the $450 investment became a $1 million business. To this day, millions of boxes of Jell-O are sold in supermarkets and stores. If Mr. Wait had only waited…

In our fast-paced world we would do well to curb the penchant for immediacy. Not everything will lend itself to instant gratification. Things of value tend to develop over time. Diamonds, pearls, success, true love and strong relationships all require patience with the process necessary to make them a reality. Pray for patience and practice patience with yourself and others. If, as Saint Augustine is noted to have said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom,” we should passionately pursue and possess it.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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