The Retrospective View And Patience

In today’s “modern” culture, we find people wanting to do things very quickly. Where our ancestors took many months — even years to cross this country, we can now drive across it in just a few days, and fly across in just a few hours. Foods that once required hours to prepare, can now be cooked in just a few minutes, thanks to the inventor of the microwave oven.

Sometimes, we hear members of the church being critical of its leaders for being slow in instituting change or taking action. However, when it comes to decisions regarding the spiritual direction of the church, slowness is not such a bad thing. From our perspective, God moves pretty slowly on important matters. For example, He waited thousands of years to send Jesus into the world, doing so only “when the fullness of the time had come” (Galations 4:4).

To some folks, God seems slow about bringing the world to an end, but there is a reason and purpose for His apparent slowness, and mankind benefits from it (2 Peter 3:8-9; cf. Romans 2:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). God ordained elders to lead and guide each local congregation (cf. Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:5). With age and experience, we generally learn to be slower in drawing conclusions, waiting until we have all the evidence. In contrast, when we are younger, we are usually impatient and in a hurry — so much so, that we don’t always “think” before we act or speak. The results being, jumping to conclusions, and sometimes, jumping to “contusions” (bruising someone’s character and integrity – see No. 2).

We need to remember the hasty decision made by young King Rehoboam, to reject the wise advice of his older counselors for that of his young companions, which resulted in a divided kingdom (2 Chronicles 10). The wise man, Solomon, reminds us in Proverbs 29:20: “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Although the wheels of progress may seem to turn slowly at times in the sphere of church leadership and congregational change, the retrospective view will almost always be found to have been a blessing rather than a curse (Luke 17:32; cf. Genesis 19:26; Luke 9:62). Among other virtues, there’s great value in the virtue called “patience” (2 Peter 1:5-11 KJV).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets