2011-01-26 / Religion

‘Patience Pays’

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

Those who know me well might agree that patience is not my most well refined attribute.

As I travel, if the vehicle in front of me is going just slightly below the speed limit, I want the driver to either hurry up or get out of the way. When I attempt to lose weight, measurable progress never comes quickly enough. And an endless list of examples could be cited regarding my desire for instant results that require no patience.

A short business trip gave me a simple, yet important reminder, of how very well patience pays.

I carried an important document in need of an official signature to an office in Dothan, only to learn that the one and only person who was qualified to sign it was busy at the time. Furthermore, he had been off for a few days, so my request did not automatically jump to the slot of top priority.

I was not particularly surprised that waiting would be involved, so since I had other business on the other side of town to attend to, I left the paper and went on my way for an hour or so. To my disappointment, when I got back, the document was still on the waiting list. I took a seat and decided to wait a while longer; then after about twenty minutes the little patience I had was essentially exhausted. So I waited my turn in line to see the receptionist to tell her that I would be on my way, and someone would come back later to get the paper. Interestingly, as I stood in line and just as my turn came to speak to the nice lady at the window, she received the paper— all signed and ready to go back to Donalsonville!

I suppose I have to assign the success of my trip more to coincidence or chance than to my personal patience, but it did give me a quick reminder of how close I came to giving up just minutes, if not seconds, too soon.

If I had left before that task was completed, it would not have greatly altered my life, but there are times when we are guilty of allowing our lack of patience to have a negative impact on our life or the lives of others. I would venture to say that many bad decisions have been made because time was not taken to consider all the details involved and all the potential outcomes of acting hastily and impatiently. And I expect the probability is high that more than one pastor has missed out on seeing spiritual health and vitality in church because they gave up and left just before a positive turn-around occurred.

It does not take a rocket scientist or brain surgeon to figure out that the results of impatience in the past cannot always be revisited and corrected, but we can rejoice that we have opportunity to choose, with God’s help, to exercise greater patience in the future than we have in the past.

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