7 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.
8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
Farmers are not accustomed to instant gratification.
They must wait—often for very long periods of time—to reap the benefit of their toils. They are patient in laboring. They plant, they plow, they weed, and then they wait. They await the rain to water the soil. They anticipate the sun to help their crops grow. A good harvest does not happen overnight. Any decent farmer that grows suitable crops knows that.
Similarly, James told us to be patient during our trials, that we may gain maturity and completeness until the coming of the Lord. James emphasized the certainty of our Lord’s return through this farming illustration. Just as God is faithful to provide rain for the farmer’s crops, so He will be faithful in the promised return of Jesus.
Therefore, believers can persevere in hardships. Patience works itself out as endurance. This means that we don’t grow weary in doing well. We trust that when Christ comes, He will judge the wicked and reward the righteous, as He promised. Because of the hope of Christ’s return, we can endure difficulty. This endurance is not weakness or defeat, but trust and obedience.
This passage is an encouragement not only to endure life’s trials, but also to have patience with one another. Christians lose patience with each other under pressure, which can lead to the church’s being infected with blame and grumbling. James reminded us that criticizing is prohibited. There is no place for it in God’s kingdom. We can fix this problem with a renewed vision of the imminent return of Christ.
With this in mind, just as the farmers do, we are inspired to cultivate our relationships both with Christ and others so that our suffering becomes perseverance—which becomes blessing.
- Do you consider yourself a patient person? Why or why not?
- Do you agree with the statement: “True religion requires endurance”? Why do you answer this way?
- Pray for diligence as you await Christ’s return. Ask for forgiveness that you are often prone to impatience with life’s circumstances and with others, even within the church.