Blessed to Persevere
“7 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. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 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.
12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.” James 5:7-12 NIV (emphasis mine)
My father in law is a taro farmer and he knows quite a bit about planting seed then waiting for land to yield its crops. He understands that in farming, it there is something required that our culture has little of. It is an undervalued trait called PATIENCE. Like a farmer, if we want to experience good fruit from our faith, we need to learn patience. Look at what Jesus says in Mark 4:28 NLT.
“28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.” Mark 4:28 NLT
He points out that the earth produces crops on its own. First the leaf blade… finally the grain ripens.” Right? Wrong! First the leaf. Then the blade pushes through. Then the heads of wheat. Finally the grain ripens. Jesus clearly shows a process that plants go through in order to bear fruit.
In our culture, we value quick results, quick actions, and quick fruit. We forget the need for patience. James reminds us that we need patience in handing our challenges. We need patience in dealing with difficult people. We need patience in the face of suffering. James says we need to be patient because, “The Judge is standing at the door!”
James knows that when we endure challenging times, we need to continually look forward to the return of Jesus Christ. That will help us to patiently endure. James reminds us that we cannot cause allow hardship to cause us to be unloving toward one another. We cannot quit on the King.
Even in the church, we tend to have eyes that look to the present. Consider what we count to be blessed.
“we count blessed those who have avoided problems in life.”
“we count blessed those who have escaped challenging times.”
“we count blessed those who have nice hair and a six pack.”
“we count blessed those who have high paying jobs that they enjoy.”
“we count blessed those who have a successful business.”
“we count blessed those who have a big house and a nice car.”
“we count blessed those who have retired early and get to travel.”
“we count blessed those who have persevered…”
We need to keep our eyes focused on the return of the King… the return of the Christ. According to James, we are not counted blessed because we avoid problems and challenges, have a nice physique, or have a good paying job.
Of course these are not bad things in and of themselves, but James says that is just not how our church fathers counted blessings. He says that the ones who are really blessed are those who have learned to persevere because they trust that the Lord, who is full of compassion and mercy, is coming back. James reminds us that we are blessed when we, like Job, so many centuries ago, learn to persevere and see “what the Lord finally brought about.” While there is no one who faced greater trial’s than Job, we can see that in the end, God’s mercy and compassion were victorious.
Have you ever prayed for patience? How did you respond when God answered the prayer by giving you the opportunity to be patient?
Why is it hard to count yourself blessed when you have the opportunity to persevere?
When you face your greatest challenges, do you consider yourself blessed when you persevere?
There are so many times that I count the wrong things to be blessings from God. Empower me, Holy Spirit, to see blessings as You do. Empower me to endure. Lord I am blessed when I persevere. Empower me to persevere and push forward even when I am scared, discouraged, and don’t feel like moving forward. In the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.