Patient, like a farmer


I asked our little Bible study group, “Have you ever quit?”  One said she stopped trying to learn to play the guitar, sold it, and was glad about it. Another said that there was a bully at work and the hostility was too much so she quit. Now there is regret for leaving a good job!  It’s my turn. I have quit more exercise programs than I care to remember. There was a treadmill that I purchased with all good intentions but after a few months, it started to collect dust. There was a gym membership … ah, yes, you know that rest of that story.  So, have you dropped out, quit, stepped away from something?

James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructs us about remaining faithful to Christ Jesus.  We will read his words of encouragement in a moment.  Pastoring the church in Jerusalem, I’m sure he had seen many begin to walk with God and the give up and walk away when friends and family pressured them to stop being such a fanatic, or when they were taken up with the immediate needs of their jobs, or when suffering and hardship arrived bringing questions about the goodness of the Lord with them.  It’s a story I have witnessed too often.  The question Paul asked his friends in Galatia reflected their abandonment of the Way. “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?” (Galatians 5:7, The Message)

30 years ago, I met a man who had responded to God’s call to faith as a teenager. After high school, he prepared for full-time Christian ministry and then was invited to pastor a flourishing church where he served for nearly a decade. Gradually, for reasons he never shared with me,  he became disillusioned with people and exhausted emotionally.  He turned to the wrong places for solace and eventually left not only pastoral work but renounced his faith. When I knew him, he was a man who despised Christians and was engaged in active efforts to resist any and all expressions of Christian faith. He published a couple of books about what he saw as the folly of living for Jesus! He mocked me for serving a God that did not exist, claiming I was silly as a child who believed in the Tooth Fairy. He is a dramatic example of quitting.

Most Christians do not walk away like he did. More often, they just get distracted and start to let things slip; prayer, meditation, worship, service – the spiritual disciplines gradually abandoned like my old treadmill!

James’ words that urge us on say “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:7-9, NIV)  Keep on, don’t quit. Like those farmers who puts seed in the ground in the Fall with the hope of a harvest the following Summer,  we need the long view of life!

Our word from the Word is an affirmation of the purpose of God, even when His ways are inscrutable. They come from that hero of faith, Job. “When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:9-10, NIV)  Re-read the passage! Let it sink in.  You may not be able to see what God is doing at this moment, but He knows your life and your path.

If you are adrift spiritually, anchor yourself to the hope of Jesus.
If you are wandering from your commitment, renew your heart with real repentance.
If you have considered quitting, find a faithful friend who can help you stay steady and to ‘stand firm.’


One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)

(worship with this song about His love)

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails
It never gives up
Never runs out on me
Your love

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
One thing remains

In death in life I’m confident and
Cover’d by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that
Can separate my heart from Your great love

Brian Johnson | Christa Black Gifford | Jeremy Riddle © 2010 ChristaJoy Music Publishing (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)

Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)

Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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