Devotional: ‘Be Patient and Wait Upon the Lord’

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James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Often in society there is a great division between the rich and the poor. As we saw in yesterday’s devotional, the rich often contribute to this division by being dishonest and flaunting their gain through luxurious living. Yet the poor can also be guilty of causing division. Whereas the rich can cause division by lording their wealth over the poor; the poor can cause division by being jealous. The tenth commandment speaks of the sin of ‘covetousness.’ [1]  To covet means to intensely desire for something someone else has. In the eyes of God, coveting is just as much a sin as dishonesty.

Whether we are rich or poor, we all need to learn is that earthly wealth will never make us happy. Neither will it provide us security. Jesus told a parable about a prosperous farmer who thought that another barn full of grain would guarantee him a life of ease and happiness. Yet what this man did not realize was that once he died, all of his earthly gain would be left behind. [2] As someone has said – “You’ll never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”

As I bring this week’s study to a close, allow me to share with you the story of a young man named CT Studd. Not only was he a very famous athlete, his father was rich and left him a sizeable inheritance. Yet in the height of his career, CT Studd gave his inheritance away for the cause of Christ and he himself became a foreign missionary.

No doubt some thought that he was a fool to turn his back on such earthy gain, yet CT Studd thought differently. Perhaps his philosophy of life can best be summarized by a line he wrote in a poem.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

James was writing to Christians who were suffering. Not only were many of them suffering persecution, they were also suffering from poverty. Yet James reminded them that earthly gain is only temporary and what matters the most is our relationship with the Lord.

 

[1] Exodus 20:17

[2] Luke 12:15-21

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