I laughed when I read this story. Apparently, an older gentleman was doing some grocery shopping and noticed a dad shopping with his son. The boy was doing a great deal of complaining as they made their way along the store aisles.
The elderly gentleman passed by them in the bread aisle and overheard, “Now Billy, just be patient, we will be finished soon.” Later they passed each other on the canned goods aisle and the gentleman heard, “Billy, just hang in there. We don’t have much more to get.”
The last aisle was frozen foods and again the gentleman overheard the dad saying, “Billy, this is the last aisle, we will be heading out very soon.”
At the cash register, the gentleman found himself behind the dad and the whining boy. Once again, he overheard the dad say, “Billy, we just have to pay, and we will be out in the car in just a quick second.”
The older gentleman decided to commend the dad for his patience with his grumbling son. He remarked, “Well done, Dad. That is a great example of parental patience!” To which the dad replied, “You don’t get it. My name is Billy!”
Truthfully, most of us lack patience with both circumstances and people. The apostle James refers to both kinds of patience in his epistle. In chapter one, verse four, he says, “Perseverance (patience under adverse circumstances) must finish its work so that you may be mature…” And in chapter five, verse seven, we are told to “be patient then brothers until the Lord’s return.”
In chapter one that Greek word usually refers to being patient under difficult, trying circumstances. It literally means to “stand up under a heavy load.” But in chapter five, the Greek word means to be patient with people. It literally means to “take a long time to boil.”
Since the return of Christ is indeed imminent, we are instructed to demonstrate our patience with others as an act of obedience to Christ. When we display patience with our family or co-workers, we are building up our capacity to wait without being upset. And that capacity for kindness helps us live in a manner that pleases our Savior.
So, this week, feel free to have a few side conversations with yourself. But let’s do whatever it takes to maintain our patience with others.