My hiatus from my blog has been troubling me. I am not exactly sure why I haven’t been feeling creative or feeling the need to write, but I suppose it is some form of apathy. But summer is upon us and as a youth pastor the impending business is at times overwhelming and this may have fed into this feeling of apathy as well…but enough self-involved babbling. This weekend we will be taking twenty fifth and sixth grade students and speaking to them exclusively about the fruit of the Spirit. And as this has drawn me out of a creative funk, this blog will also be the beneficiary…at least for the next nine posts.
The fruit of the Spirit that intrigued me the most in the beginning is that of patience. According to my Apple Dictionary application, Patience is ‘ the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset’. Wow! I love that definition. Patience is our capacity to deal with delay, trouble, or suffering in a fashion befitting the character of Christ. Now I know that was a leap from the dictionary’s expression of not ‘getting angry or upset’ to exemplifying the ‘character of Christ’. But who better to set the blueprint for our ability to encounter delay, trouble and suffering. He who endured scoffing, abuse, shame and the cross has enabled us to endure.
But sometimes there is the jerk who pulls out in front of us in traffic…or there is that co-worker who makes our work-life a miserable existence…or perhaps we have to suffer through a toothache or DMV appointment. I don’t mean to make these things sound trivial, but honestly some of them are. Some things in this life are ok to get angry over. Child-hood cancer, human trafficking, oppressive violence…these are things that should upset us or make us angry. These are things we should be impatient about and our impatience should provoke us to action, but impatience over inconvenience. Unfortunately our blood boils more over traffic or work than it does over the injustices of the world.
Let’s consider the example of Christ one more time before we move on to another fruit. Notoriously people will cite one example of Christ losing his patience/temper in scripture. When Christ encounters the peddling of goods in the Temple courts and sees the poor being oppressed through vendors cheating them and laws burdening them he is filled with a righteous rage that exhibits itself in him driving out the moneychangers and overturning their tables and wares. But think about it; Christ doesn’t get impatient with a slow donkey in his path or the disciples inability to hand out bread and fish in an organized fashion, but rather with injustice towards the disenfranchised.
May we find patience with the trivial and become impatient with the things that frustrate God. In this way we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit known as patience.