Whoever is patient has great understanding. (Proverbs 14:29)
Or as 17th century English statesman George Savile wrote, A person who has mastered patience is master of everything else.
We all need a little patience. We have succumbed to what scholar Dallas Willard calls hurry-sickness, when talking about our culture. We have a sickness of hurry.
I thought this 5G, high speed, high tech culture promised me with all this convenience at my fingertips, life was going to slow down? I thought I was going to slow down and enjoy more of the things that mattered?
It only seems to have sped things up. It seems to have amplified this hurry sickness. High speed really does mean high speed.
And when our patience runs out, watch out.
It’s a husband who sends a verbal thrashing at his wife and she still loves him, but she’ll never forget how hurt she was over that tirade he gave her.
It’s when a wife sends that look at her husband when he frustrates her, or has failed her again, making him feel pathetic.
Its’ when an impatient dad yells at his kid during the sports game because dad is mad over his kid not doing as well as the other kids.
It’s an employer who is more in love with profit and reputation than they are toward their employees, and over every mistake they lash out.
There is always a high price to pay for impatience.
With how full our schedules are and with the many plates we are spinning, there are a couple things we forget about those around us. And when we do forget these things, our patience with others begins to wither away. First,
We forget that people are more important than our time.
This is the parable Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan where most people passing by an injured man on the road are unwilling to help him. They forgot that others are more important than an agenda or a schedule.
God has thrown the flag on me many times when I have forgotten this.
One example is due to my own distraction and procrastination.
I left later than I should’ve for a meeting with someone. I ran into traffic and I became that guy, you know, they guy swerving through traffic, frustrated at the drivers around me.
And then every car came to a standstill. There was a funeral procession that was going past me.
And my immediate reaction was, You’ve got to be kidding me. This is going to take forever!!!
Soon after I felt convicted by God’s Spirit saying, Z, are you kidding? This funeral procession can’t go slow enough for the people in that line who are grieving a loved one being gone.
I had forgotten that people are more important than my time.
Author John Ortberg talks about his struggle with hurry-sickness, he writes this,
We must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. This doesn’t mean that we will never be busy. Jesus often had a lot to do, but He never did it in a way that severed the life-giving connection between Him and His Father. He never did it in a way that interfered with His ability to give love when love was called for. He never did it in a way that caused Him to treat someone as an interruption. Jesus was often busy, but never hurried.
Has your schedule kept you from spending time with God each day and centering yourself on what matters?
Has it kept you from checking on others?
Has it kept you from date nights with your spouse or from one on one time with your child or appreciating an employee or taking a friend out who needs someone to talk with?
Being hurried all the time isn’t just a blurry schedule or a cluttered mind, it’s a disordered heart. When your heart is disordered, you prioritize the wrong things.
Love always takes time and hurried people don’t have time.
When time becomes more precious to us than people, you won’t find patience there.
The second thing we forget when life is blurry –
We forget that people are more important than our possessions.
I was visiting an elderly woman, a widow of 20 years. She’s a Christian woman, 78 years old. She lives in her home with her 55 year old son is divorced (twice) and single, currently unemployed and isn’t a Christian.
Her son wanted to show me something on his mother’s property so he, his mom and I walk out to the detached garage behind the home. The son opens the wide garage door and inside are two identical 1968 Dodge Charger R/Ts. One Dodge was red with black stripes, one was blue with white stripes. These are pristine classic cars.
While we were looking at the son’s cars, his elderly mother set her hand on the blue Dodge Charger and leaned against it, to rest. Her son, in front of me, sternly says, Mom! How many times have I told you not to put your hand on my car?!?!?!
Mom was embarrassed.
We went back inside and the mom shared with me that she was having to go back to work part time as a nurse practitioner to buy groceries and pay her utilities.
She’s a widow. 78 years old. House is paid off. She allows her son to live with her. He doesn’t work. He’s got two classic cars worth around $70,000 each. But she’s going back to work to provide.
The son had forgotten that people are more important than possessions.
When you’re a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will continue to gently and sometimes bluntly remind you of these two things: People are more important than your time and people are more important than your stuff.
One of the most familiar chapters in the Bible is 1 Corinthians chapter 13. You’ve probably heard it quoted at weddings – it’s all about love. The church I get to be a part of did a series on 1 Corinthians 13 to cement that our church was going to be a powerful movement of selfless, sacrificial love.
It’s a chapter about love. What is the first thing that is said about love? It’s the most famous writing about love. What is the first thing it says describing love?
Love is patient. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
If you really love someone, you are patient with them.
By its very definition, love is patient.
Do you want your children to know you love them?
Be patient with them. Don’t be frustrated with them.
Do you want your parents to know you love them?
Be patient with them, don’t be annoyed by them.
Do you want your spouse or your boyfriend/girlfriend or your employees or your siblings to know you love them? If you love them, then cut them some slack. Don’t be harsh, see how you can help.
When we stop looking at our watch and our schedule and our goals, and when we stop looking at possessions and stuff, and we choose to look at people – people with souls – and we choose to help people, we then receive perspective, wisdom and understanding.
Time is going to go away.
Possessions are all going to burn one day.
People have souls that will last forever.
If you want to be more patient with others, try to see their side of things. Put yourself in their position.
There’s a reason that person is difficult. There’s a reason they are harsh. There’s a reason they are selfish. There’s a reason they are melancholy. If you try to seek out why they are like that, where you understand them further, then you’ll become more patient with them.
The people who are difficult to love in your life, they weren’t born that way. It’s because of sin. They chose sin and sin has been done to them. -Once you get to know them and their story, once they trust you enough to talk about their past and their parents and their struggles, then you start to think about how you can encourage them and serve them and help them.
Could I invite them to church with me?
Could I pray with them?
Could I buy them a gift?
Could I write them a note?
Could I make them a meal?
Could I offer them insight?
How can I love them?
Because, love is patient.
Patient people take the time to understand someone, why they are the way they are, and choose to love them anyway. More than your time. More your stuff. More than yourself.
And by doing so, you yourself will be cured from hurry-sickness.
Thanks for reading. You are loved.