February 21, 2018
READ: James 5:1-11
Be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the [autumn] and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen (v.7).
A man from the Netherlands fell for a Chinese woman he met online. Impatient to meet her, he booked a flight and flew 5,000 miles for a visit. He’d sent her his itinerary, but when he arrived at the airport, she wasn’t there. The man, however, was so determined that he waited for her at the airport in China for ten days! Definitely a patient guy, though his faith in his love interest may have been misplaced.
When James encouraged his readers to be patient, he offered them a certain foundation for their patience and hope—Jesus’ return, the next big event in God’s story (5:7-8). He knew the hope of Christ’s return would encourage them as they endured hardship and suffering. As they waited, James urged them to practise self-restraint and not retaliate after being wronged. He wrote, “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged” (v.9).
When they endured times of struggle, James said they should follow the example of farmers. A farmer in James’ day had to wait patiently for the early and late rains that were crucial for their agriculture (v.7). Like the farmer waiting for the harvest, these believers were to be patient under oppression until Jesus came back (v.8). When He returned, He would right every wrong.
Every generation of believers lives in the eager anticipation of Jesus’ return. As we wait for Him, we’re to be watchful and ready (Matthew 24:41-42), be faithful stewards eagerly expecting His return (25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 1:7), exercise wisdom (Proverbs 19:11) and live as God’s holy people by His power (Colossians 3:12). May Jesus provide what you need to patiently wait for Him today!
365-day plan: Numbers 21:4-9
Read 2 Thess. 1:10 to see one of the reactions believers will have when He returns.
What’s the hardest thing about waiting for Jesus’ return? How is His coming back an incentive for you to live out your faith?