Do We Need Wait Training? James 5:7-11
I think it is fair to say that due to the way the world has evolved, it has led many of us to have a mindset of ‘We want what we want and we want it right now.’ I blame this mindset on the rapid advancement of technology throughout the years. Some of us can remember when we use to have dial-up internet and had to dial in and wait for quite some time to connect to the World Wide Web. Then surfing from page to page was slower than receiving mail from the Pony Express. As a matter of fact, I cannot even imagine where we would be if we still had dial-up Internet. All of us would be mentally unstable. Technology has evolved in such a way where everything is at our fingertips. If we want to contact someone, we can send him or her a message instantly by texting, tweeting, Snapchap, or even Facebook. If we are hungry, we can bypass the oven and head straight to the microwave and have an entire meal in two minutes. We don’t even have to fool with the long lines at the grocery store anymore. Now we can go online to Wal-Mart or Kroger and put in our order. They do the shopping for us and we can pick it for free the same day and they will even load the car. And forget standing in line at the bank. We can be sitting at home chill-lacing in front of the television watching ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ take a picture of a check with our smart phone and have it in our account instantly. I mean let’s face it, we want everything fast in life, and we don’t want to wait on anything. And my brothers and my sisters I use these particular examples simply because I believe that this mindset has caused you and I to lack a very important spiritual virtue called ‘patience.’ Therefore all of us could use some ‘Wait Training.’ In our text for today, James is teaching the people of God that wait training builds a sense of expectation, helps us to stop complaining and increases our endurance.
In our text for today James says in verses 7 and 8, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James in order to help the people of God understood this wait training draws on the imagery of a farmer. And when a farmer prepares to plant his crop, he has to prepare the soil, he tills and plows the ground and takes out the rocks. I mean it takes a whole lot of work and time to get the soil just right. Then he plants the seeds, and he makes sure they are at the right spacing and depth. The farmer makes sure everything is planted to the best of his ability. And watch this, after planting the seeds the farmer does not go off and retire, he does not stand around doing nothing. Instead the farmer is constantly at work watering and fertilizing to keep the weeds out. Some plants he has to prune, he works hard to keep the bugs and animals away from the crop. This is a very long process and a whole lot of hard work is involved. And because of his hard work, the farmer is able without a doubt to look forward with great expectation to the day of a harvest. The farmer did his part, therefore he did not guess, he did not worry, he expected something great to happen and we have to do the same thing.
The next point we learn about our text is wait training helps us to avoid complaining. The text goes onto say in verse 9, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!” Now we know that the people of God in the text had been experiencing oppression for quite some time. And I don’t care who we are, if we experience something long enough, if we are not careful we can become frustrated and impatient. Both will cause us to lose perspective and instead of being together, we can end up turning on one another. We turn on innocent people and play the blame game and start complaining. And James knew complaining could become very dangerous. Therefore he pleaded with the people of God and encouraged them to stand strong and avoid complaining. And you know what James is on it again for all of us need to avoid complaining.
Lastly we now know that wait training will build our endurance. The text closes out with verses 10-11, “Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” In order to drive his point home, James draws on the example of the prophets from the Old Testament. He even mentions Job, who was not a prophet, yet he is being lifted to us as a model of great endurance. If you know anything about Job, we know that he was living well when out of no where he suffered bankruptcy, he lost all of his property, his livestock, he even lost his sons and his daughters. To make matters worse, his wife fussed at him because he refused to complain and curse God. Job did not understand all that was happening to him, but he refused to turn against God. Instead he stood and patiently endured it in the name of God. Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” And because of his endurance, God ended up restoring Job’s fortunes and even gave him twice as much as he had. Well I wonder if we have any Job’s in the house.