Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.James 5:7(NASB)
James starts to bring his letter to a close with an exhortation to patience: "Therefore, be patient, brethren," he pleads, "be patient until the coming of the Lord. Be patient like the farmer who waits for the precious produce of the soil and remains patient until the field receives the early and late rains."
At the beginning of his epistle, James called his fellow believers to be patient in trials, tribulation, difficulties, and dangers, for the result of patient endurance is a firm, precious, and perfected faith which cannot be shaken by doubt or fear.
The patience about which James is speaking is exemplified by a life that honours the Lord in thought, word, and deed - through good works and godly living. It is demonstrated by one who believes God's Word and applies the royal law of unselfish and impartial love in every area of life - i.e. love of God and love of one's neighbour through the supernatural love of Christ within.
As he starts to draw his letter to a close, James call us once again to patiently endure. This time his instruction is not about maintaining patience throughout our earthly life, but is an exhortation to run a race of persistent perseverance to the very end of our life "until the coming of the Lord!"
We have a blessed hope in Christ and a promise of eternal reward and our eyes should be fixed on Jesus. We have many precious promises that are 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ, and He has promised to come back to take us to be with Himself forever, and James exhorts each one of us to "be patient until the coming of the Lord."
Throughout his writing, we see much colourful language and many descriptive metaphors and similes. An unstable, double-minded man is likened to surf of the sea which is driven and tossed by the wind. He uses the great patriarch Abraham and Rahab the Gentile prostitute, to illustrate the importance of faith in action... and contrasts a wealthy man, dressed in fine clothes and wearing a golden ring with a poor man, clad in dirty clothes - to emphasise the evils of prejudice and the need for impartiality.
Here in this passage, James uses the farmer who waits for many months or years for the precious produce of the soil to germinate and grow - to bud, blossom, and bring forth its fruit as an example of the patient endurance that should be evident in each of our lives - a patience that waits expectantly, joyfully, and hopefully in this fallen world, until the return of the Lord for His Church.
James' teaching is designed to give encouragement to those that are beset by problems and poverty. He understands that it is often hard to be patient when life seems unfair, but warns against developing wrong values and adopting a worldly perspective, which considers wealth, position, power, and achievement to be life's goal. Although we are to occupy productively until He comes, James is calling us to set our minds on things above and patiently wait until God sets all things right.
May we take to heart James' exhortation to be patient in the difficult circumstances we face when life seems unfair, to love as Christ loved, and to be rich in faith. May we be ready and willing to persevere under trials and tribulation and allow patience to blossom in our lives, knowing the day is coming when those who are approved will receive the crown of life - which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would develop the patient endurance that perfects my faith, through the trials I face and the way I live. Keep me from developing a worldly perspective and wrong values and help me to be like the farmer who waits for the precious produce of the soil to bring forth its fruit in due season. Help me to trust You in all things and to finish the good work You started in my life. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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