July 6, 2009
I confess to not being the most patient person on earth. Truthfully, I am not even close to winning an award for that kind of self control. But based on a couple of recent articles, I am not in the “big leagues” of impatience either!
Recently it seems a gentleman up in the Northwest that left a McDonald’s fast food restaurant disappointed with his meal. Something in the bag wasn’t quite right, so he called 911 to report his emergency. The city is taking him to court for an inappropriate use of emergency services.
A day or two later, I read about a policeman in Denver who brandished his gun in another McDonalds. It seems that the guy ordered from his car but by the time he got around to the window his anger at the delay in getting his meal ignited a response. He flashed his badge and pointed his gun through the drive up window. Eventually, he drove away without paying.
Obviously, the real problem isn’t fast food, but fast tempers. We live in a society that tends to live at break neck speed and insists on an instant response to everything. Think about it, how long does it take the guy behind you to honk when the light turns green? How many huffs and puffs can you hear as you wait in a three person line at the bank? How long does it take for muttering to be heard when a sales clerk isn’t speedy with the check out wand?
It seems to me that the real root of the problem is utter self absorbsion. Our culture is ego centric, totally “me” oriented and self promoting. We want it (read ANYTHING) and we want it now!
For followers of Jesus Christ, our standard of behavior is supposed to be much different. We are called to be Christ centered, others oriented and busy about the Father’s work. Patience is a virtue expected of all Christians. This high standard of extraordinary behavior is not just expected from a few gilded saints. Patience is the normal, regular requirement for all believers.
James tells us to let patience have its perfect result (remember, it is the testing of our faith that produces patience), that we might be perfect and complete lacking for nothing (James 1:4). Delays, irritations, people with attitudes, difficult circumstances, bothersome health issues and meddling neighbors are all useful in the hand of our Father. He uses those kinds of circumstances to sand paper our wills and strengthen our character. He uses them to produce the blessed spiritual fruit of patience in all our lives.
So if your food order this week isn’t fast or quite right, stop and grin. Think sand paper. And if the guy behind you breaks a speed record with his hand eye coordination on his horn, stop and grin. Think sand paper. If the teller is slow and the lines are long, stop and grin. Such delays give the precious Holy Spirit a few more moments to continue working on our character.
I don’t like the rub, but I am looking forward to the results.
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools