Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Intro.: Patience is hard. Mark Hansen and Jack Canfield understood the truth of that statement.

  1. For over two decades Mark Hansen and Jack Canfield shared “stories of hope, inspiration, and encouragement” in their seminars.

  2. When they saw how their stories touched their audiences, they tried to find a publisher to put them into print.

  3. Some publishers thought the stories were too “nicey-nice.” Others said “Nobody wants to read a book of little stories.” Others said just plain “No!“

  4. After three years and 33 rejections, they finally found someone who would publish Chicken Soup for the Soul.

  5. Their own experience mimics the power of the stories they tell; it is the drama of triumph through hardship and the victory of the human spirit.It shows that hard work, patience and determination will pay off. If you don’t give up.1

  6. Patience is never easy – James gives us four examples of patience to help us understand how it needs to play out in our lives.

Read: James 5:7-11


T.S. Let's look at the four illustration that James gives us of patience in this short section of scripture.

  1. The farmer illustrates patience. (Jms 5:7) See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

    1. I don't have a green thumb – but, like James, I know that farmers need a great deal of patience. They have no control over the growth of their crops, they have no control over the weather, they can only wait – they need patience while they wait for their crop to be ready for harvest.

    2. Patience is not easy, but if we are willing to wait, we may be surprised by the results. Ultimately, patience is a precious commodity – Joe Treala understands just how precious it is.

(Ill.) For Joe Treala is was worth a million dollars. Treala, a resident of Gilroy, California won a million dollars when he answered the following question on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” What insect shorted out an early supercomputer and inspired the term, “computer bug?” The answer “moth” was worth a million dollars to the 25-year-old computer customer service representative.

Treala took his time answering this and other questions. It took him 15 minutes to answer one of the questions. “The producers were getting kinda cranky with me,” he said. His patience was uncanny, even unnerving. But in the end, his patient ways paid off for him-a million different ways.

Treala’s patience wasn’t just shown in the way he played the game, but in how he got there.Treala tried out for Jeopardy several times, but was never invited on the show.But he didn’t give up, he kept trying to get on a game show and when he did, his patience finally paid off.2

  1. The prophets illustrate patience (Jms 5:10) Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

    1. Patience is a characteristic of believers – whenever or wherever they have lived. That of course includes those of us living in the 21st century.

(Ill.) Patricia Miller tells the story of how she learned patience. She writes: Each day I worked in the emergency room, I became more insensitive to people and their real needs. Five years of emergency room exposure took its toll. Then God intervened. I was registering a young woman who had overdosed on drugs and attempted suicide. Her mother sat before me, unkempt and bleary eyed. She had been awakened in the night by the police to come to the hospital. She could only speak to me in a whisper. “Hurry up!” I said to myself as she slowly gave me information. My impatience was raw as I finished the report and jumped to the machine to copy the medical cards. Then God stopped me, saying, “You didn’t even look at her.” I felt his grief for the woman and her daughter then, and I bowed my head, saying, “I’m sorry, Lord. I am so sorry.” I sat by the distraught woman and covered her hands with mine. I looked into her eyes with all the love that God could flood through me and said, “I care. Don’t give up.” She wept as she poured out her story. For years she had dealt with a rebellious daughter who was a single mom. Finally, after the weeping stopped, she thanked me for listening. Me—the coldhearted one with no feelings. My attitude changed that night. My God, who so loved the world, broke that self-imposed barrier around my heart. Now he could reach out, not only to me, but to a lost and hurting woman.3

    1. Learning patience is costly – it will cost me something to become what God wants me to become.

    2. Perhaps, James' third example illustrates that better than anyone else could.

  1. Job illustrates patience.

(Jms 5:11) As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

    1. Job was convinced of God's love, God's care, God's concern – but he had to live through a tough time to find the proof and the results of that love, care, and concern.

(Ill.) Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. He understood a bit about patience. He said, “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”4

    1. Life goes on – and God provides.

    2. As Job waited – God provided for him.

    3. As we wait – God provides for us.

  1. God is the best example of patience.

    1. The farmer is patient, the prophet was patient, Job was patient.

    2. But James keeps the best example of patience till the end – that is the Lord Himself.

(Ill.) When Robert Ingersoll, a famous atheist who lived in the mid 1800's, was lecturing, he once took out his watch and declared, “I will give God five minutes to strike me dead for the things I have said.” The minutes ticked off as he held the watch and waited. In about four-and-a-half minutes, some women began fainting, but nothing happened. When the five minutes were up, Ingersoll put the watch into his pocket. When that incident reached the ears of a certain preacher, Joseph Parker, he asked, “And did the gentleman think he could exhaust the patience of the Eternal God in five minutes?”5

    1. We use the phrase “the patience of Job” - but whether it be Job, Paul, or James, the once with real patience is God.

    2. He patiently waits for us to say “YES” to Him. And when we do, there is a celebration in heaven. And then he waits for us to say “yes” again. The story of the farmer, the prophet, and of Job, is not to teach of their patience – but to teach us of God's patience.

    3. And to remind us of the patience we need to have for the those around us. For if God can be patient with us – we need to be as patient with those who cross our paths.



1Wilson, J. L. (2009). Fresh Sermons. Fresno, CA: Willow City Press.

2Wilson, J. L. (2009). Fresh Sermons. Fresno, CA: Willow City Press.

3Adapted from Patricia Miller, “The Emergency Room,” Pentecostal Evangel (October 15, 2000) as quoted in Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (436). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

4Larson, Craig Brian and Brian Lowery. 1001 Quotations That Connect: Timeless Wisdom for Preaching, Teaching, and Writing. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2009.

5Jones, G. Curtis. 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1986.

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