May 2012

Having a Long Fuse

A kindergarten teacher was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier to pull the boots off than it was putting them on.  She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, "Teacher, these aren't my boots."  She bit her tongue rather than scream, and asked, "Why didn't you say so earlier?" Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, "They're my brother's boots. My Mom made me wear 'em." Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, "....Now, where are your mittens?" He said, "I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots." Our society has mastered the fine art of impatience. How about you, what pushes your impatience button? How would you rate yourself in accepting situations that are irritating?
                            Calm & Patient                                Out of Control & Angry
Car cutting             
you off:                 1            2            3            4            5            6            7            8            9
Not getting your
way at home:        1            2            3            4            5            6            7            8            9
Slow service
at a restaurant:        1            2            3            4            5            6            7            8            9
Slow checker at
a grocery store:     1            2            3            4            5            6            7            8            9
Waiting for someone
to get ready:         1            2            3            4            5            6            7            8            9

Patience is a virtue and a fruit of the Spirit. Eph 4:1, 2 says, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.” Col 3:12 notes, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I Cor 13:4 says, “Love is patient.” I Thess 5:14 tells us to “Be patient with all men.” And II Tim 3:10 says, “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance.”

The Greek word for patience literally means long-tempered, long fuse, long-suffering, forbearance, or long temper. It refers to patience with people, rather than with circumstances. It is the ability to refuse to yield to passion or outburst-the willingness to accept situations that are irritating or painful without exploding or retaliating. It is keeping your feet on the ground when everything else is up in the air. God Himself is "slow to anger" (Ps. 86:15) and expects His children to be the same. Moses is an excellent example of a long-tempered man, “choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (26) considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (27) By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb 11:25-27). Patience helps a believer accepts God’s plan without gripping, complaining, or blowing up. 

How might I show patience?
1.    Recognize impatience is a problem and give it to God in prayer
2.    Don’t blow a fuse or yell and scream when things don’t go your way
3.    Act and react with your mind, not your heart and emotions
4.    Don’t let people or circumstances control you
5.    Don’t honk the horn or yell when someone else is running late
6.    Expect the unexpected-(Murray Law-if anything can go wrong, it will) things will not always go your way 

A sign in a Texas store read, “Be patient. None of us are perfect.”  
                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla