Thursday after the Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: James 5:7-11 (NKJV)
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Patience may rightly be reckoned as “faith over an extended period of time.” That is, a lack of patience is a matter of lacking faith. When we are impatient with others, we are that way because we don’t believe that they will improve—or, maybe, that they are even trying.
Considering that all men are sinners—even all Christians, even those closest and dearest to us—we may well feel justified in our impatience with them. Yet, the Holy Spirit has St. James write to us that we are not to grumble against one another in such impatience. This is akin to what Luther writes in the Large Catechism concerning our sins against the Fifth Commandment: even though others provoke us, we cannot do them harm. (Luther speaks about us as vengeful individuals here; he is not speaking against defending another in an emergency even with violence, soldiers involved in justly waged wars, or anything of that nature.)
Instead, we endure them even as our Lord has had to endure us, even as His prophets then and His pastors now have had to speak God’s Word and suffer its (and their) being abused, not seeing the results—the ‘crop’—as they sowed.
James tells us to remember St. Job and to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord’s compassion, mercy, and the intended end He has for us, as then we will persevere. That is, recall that you were Baptized not just for that day, but for today, as well, and, indeed, for all eternity, as in Baptism you were connected with the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, so that you shall also certainly be raised for all eternity in Him.
Grant us patience, O Heavenly Father, that we may portray for our brethren the same grace in which we trust You to look at us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.