Patience is the hallmark of a Christian life. It is a sign of faithfulness and a willingness to make a commitment: to sacrifice for the promise of a something greater than ourselves – God’s promise of Life Eternal in His heavenly Kingdom.
Patience is also something many of us struggle with in our journey of faith and we are not alone. Throughout history people of God have struggled with their faith in God’s promise. These lapses in faith came through their lack of patience; a lack in willingness to stay the course, to remaining true over long periods; waiting for God’s work. Remember, soon after the people’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt: - after witnessing all God did for them – they became impatient waiting for God to bring them into the Promise Land and made a god of their own - out of a golden calf.
In today’s world we live a life of the immediate, the now. Everything happens instantly – we watch news from half a world away - as it happens. Who writes letters any more, when we can call or text? Many even now find email too slow for us today. We live in an instantaneous world - where nothing lasts for longer than a moment and we move from one thing to the next - in the blink of an eye. So how are we expected to have patience, especially the patience needed to live in God’s time?
Today’s readings teach us about patience; showing us something of God’s time and the patience needed to live a life of faith and hope. In Wisdom, we are reminded that commitment to the faith - that delivered the people of Israel out of bondage - is still relevant to the people even a thousand years later. The commitment to remembering God’s promise of deliverance is ongoing, never to be forgotten – that God is with us always.
In the faithfulness of Abraham, with his wife Sarah, who, even in his old age – “one as good as dead” - waited with patience for the fulfillment of God’s promise - to make of him, “a great nation, a great name and a blessing for all people.” Abraham waited patiently; remaining committed to God and kept faith that God would bring about his promise even in Abraham’s old age.
If Abraham had no patience, we would not know his great name, - there would’ve been no fulfillment of God’s promise to bring life from the barren Sarah, and a great nation would not have come forth from him. There would be no blessing for all God’s people.
Jesus tells us about being patient in waiting for the Master to return; that those who wait patiently, in faith will be rewarded. As children of God, we are called to live faithfully, to live with patient commitment - in the hope of rising to Eternal Life.
Without patience, the people would have abandoned God and drifted away from faith and belief in God’s promise.
Without patience, we would forget we are God’s beloved children
Without patience, we would forget His unconditional love and mercy for us
Without patience, we would forget our call to love one another as we are loved.
But - with patience, we have faith in God’s promise of salvation.
With patience, we live in hope of His promise of Eternal Life
With patience, we know we will be received with joy and live in peace in God’s Kingdom
Our lack of patience can lead us astray - into a dark journey - away from faith in God and hope in His promise of life everlasting. Jesus warns us that:
if we, like the slaves in the parable, lack patience in waiting for His return,
if we fail in our commitment to act faithfully,
if we are not waiting patiently at the door - ready to open when He arrives –
We will not receive God’s blessing and His reward of life everlasting in His heavenly Kingdom.
Deacon Don Ron