“A watched pot never boils.” So goes the old proverb. As one who enjoys cooking, I often don’t have patience! I have found that it is much better for me to turn the eye of the stove on, put the pot filled with water on the eye, cover the pot and do something else while waiting for the water to boil. Then it seems in no time the water is boiling and I am much calmer in the kitchen. But this is not the patience that is the fruit of the Spirit!
A concert, a play, or a trip are events which fill me with great anticipation and excitement. I look forward to them and it seems like forever before the concert master tunes up, the curtain goes up or the car is loaded up or I have boarded the plane. My patience is thin as I await enjoyable events. But this is not the patience that is the fruit of the Spirit!
The patience that is the fruit of the Spirit is in regard to people! This patience is having the attitude of God towards human beings. This patience is being loving, forbearing, and forgiving in our dealings with human beings. So what might this patience look like?
If I were being patient while driving, then I wouldn’t call the person an idiot who cuts in front of me as I non-violently deal with road rage.
If I were being patient while working with children, then I would realize that they are learning and it takes them more time to do things as their hand and eye coordination and fine motor skills are developing. I would encourage them, instruct them and resist doing the tasks for them.
If I were being patient while interacting with older adults, then I would know that it bothers them when they cannot do things as fast as they once did. I would reassure them that slow and steady are the ways to go.
If I were being patient, then I would be less calculating in forgiving others while realizing how much God has forgiven me. I would be more forgiving … remembering that second chances or even three strikes still may not be enough!
As I consider just those four examples, I pray that patience, the fruit of the Spirit, may be made manifest in my life now.
O Lord, when my patience runs thin, remind me that if you were no more patient with me than I am with others, then I would have been doomed long ago. Thank you for being patient with me and help me to exhibit your patience in dealing with family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. Amen.