This last Sunday I made a mistake that I hope never to repeat again. You see my wife was not with us after church and so I decided to treat the kids to something special for lunch. My wife has a gluten allergy from which she was suffering an exposure to and this was a place that we normally avoid like the plague because of said allergy. But I thought what’s the harm? The kids love it and it will make me look like super-dad and I might as well have some as well. So there I was 20 minutes later with my 20 piece McNuggets and Dr. Pepper and thought to myself, this will all work out fine… But that afternoon I couldn’t get my Nazarene Nap in and then that night I was up half the night. Not sure what was in those nuggets, but it did not go well with my system. Needless to say, the very next day I swore off McDonald’s. Well, at least until my kids convince me otherwise.
But that’s kind of how things are today. We like our convenience, our fast food, our drive-thru, our microwaves, our digital shopping, our high-speed WiFi, our fill in the blank. We have become a society bereft of patience and it really has begun to cripple our relationships and even our witness as the church. We have become so used to fast/convenient/express/etc. that we no longer know what it means to invest in someone’s life through the art of true discipleship. Especially those of us who have grown up in and around the church expect people to walk in our church doors and become like us overnight without any of the hassle because if we can beam a satellite signal around the world in 2 seconds then surely I can turn you into me overnight as well. I love the picture the writer of II Peter gives us of God in regards to redemption, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – II Peter 3:9. God is not slow, but patient. Hmmm.
I recently asked one of my somewhat older (although amazingly young in Spirit) parishioners how she was doing and she responded, “I’m doing good. Just slower” And I love this. Why? Because it accepts things the way they should be. I think sometimes we can get frustrated with people we are trying to love into the Kingdom or disciple because it isn’t happening as fast as we think it should. But if God is patient with the whole of creation, shouldn’t we be patient in allowing Him to work in the lives of those we are ministering to? Yes it may cost us more time and energy and it may even get messy and drag us through their muck as well, but isn’t that what God did for us? Maybe we need to step out of our fast food quick fix mindset and realize that the people we are doing life with are flesh and bone just like us and that we need to realize that growth and change don’t happen overnight. And maybe as we become a little more patient maybe a little more of that Divine character can be seen through us and before we know it the change is happening. So today may you move a little slower and be okay with it.