Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…
When men have entered upon a religious experience, or a religious life, they are warned that there are perils in that life or experience — especially the peril of getting tired of it; of losing interest in it; of having their enthusiasm waste away like a summer's brook, and die like a fugitive cloud. Weariness may take on either of three forms — that of simple fatigue, that of discouragement, or that of disgust. Now, there are no callings in life that are continuous in which we do not experience weariness in the first form — that of fatigue; and rest is the cure for it. We get tired of daily tasks — especially those that consist in bearing heavy burdens and responsibilities; and the night is a blessed relief to those who perform them. But then come the other forms of weariness — namely, discouragement, want of hope, and disgust, aa inexplicable state of mind which oftentimes drives a man to the other extreme, so that he loathes things that once were attractive to him, and not only renounces his purposes, but stands in direct antagonism to the very ends that before he sought violently to serve. I shall speak of some of the occasions on which this weariness and this reaction take place, and of some of the causes which produce them. Weariness often takes place in regular and necessary business life — especially where our avocations are not such as minister pleasure. We should seek as far as possible to reduce that which is necessary in our daily calling to a pleasure. Although there are some things that can scarcely be made pleasurable, yet to a far greater extent than men believe it is possible to subdue to liking things that are not naturally likable. There are odours that are intolerable when we regard them with disgust, but that, nevertheless, when we dwell by them day by day, if we have rational minds, we may come to so regard as to overcome our repugnance to them. And if one man can do it, another can. Tasks that are disagreeable should first be essayed. To all those who have a wearisome life; to all those who have mixed responsibilities "to all those who are obliged to have anxiety; to all those who are compelled to bear these things in bodies enfeebled by disease, or in bodies whose nervous organisation has been very much supplanted, there is this exhortation: "Be not weary in well doing. In due season ye shall reap if ye faint not." If by complaint, if by repugnance, if by weariness, you could change your affairs for the better, it would be different; but you make them worse by these things; and discretion, as well as the exhortation of revelation, points out the true any "Be bold, be patient, be not weary, continue instant in season and out of season." Follow these directions, and in due time ye shall have relief. Then a still more critical weariness comes upon persons who, having set before them a vivid notion of their faults and failings, attempt to shape their whole character to a higher pattern and to live their whole life on a higher plane. There is nothing harder than to rise from any level where we have permitted ourselves to spread, out to a higher level. We hug the sphere in which we have invested the most of ourselves; and when we are called to forsake it and to go up to a higher level it is a thing of displacency; and we do it with the utmost fatigue and reluctance. Yet, every man should set his face against the ruling of lower tendencies; and should determine to measure himself by, a higher standard; and when a man, carrying out these purposes in succession, finds himself attacking pride, besieging vanity, doing battle with lusts, and passions, and appetites, he has a campaign on his hands which may very well breed weariness and discouragement, for many and many of the tendencies of our nature are like streams which seem to dry up in summer, but which come Booming again in spring when the rains descend upon the mountains; and where we thought we had achieved victories we find ourselves quite overthrown and swept away. In some respects it is true that men are worse when they begin to be better: The conflict with morbid nature with unwholesome nature is disturbing. Therefore men who attempt to carry out the rule of righteousness with temperance often find themselves very tired of sitting and watching at the door of the mouth, and saying, "Let your moderation be known [be made apparent] to all men." They forget, they relax vigilance, they faint; and the inordinate appetite which they have striven against for days and weeks at once overtakes them, and they are swept away; and in looking back, when they examine the tendencies of anger, and irritableness, and envy, and jealousy, and avarice in the actual strifes of life, when they think of their relations to others, and of the relative conditions of others and themselves, and when they, from year to year, mark whether they grow in grace or not, it is not strange that weariness and discouragement come over men. Then there is weariness in our social duties and relationships. In days of sickness, in days of labour, and especially in days of poverty, when one can almost say, "Heart and flesh have failed," is it strange that there is discouragement? And is there no need of the injunction, "Be not weary in well doing"? and of the promise, "In due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not"? When dealing, not within the sacred precincts of the family, but in our relations with those around us — with our neighbours, of every clime, of every disposition, of every kind of education, and of every temperament — an amount of forbearance, of patience, of gentleness, of wisdom, and of goodness is required that cannot be measured in words. And when it becomes necessary to co-operate for the public good, or for the good of special classes or conditions of men, human nature is a thing that torments the patience. It is hard to bear with men, and it is hard to bear with them just in the proportion in which they are strong and multiform in their nature. We are disposed to be weary in doing good to others, so slow is the result of anything we undertake in developing itself, so unfruitful is this result, and so material and uninteresting are people. Is it the work of charity? To do good among those who need you most — the poor and the ignorant — will require all the patience, all the gentleness, all the self-denial that you can command. All men, therefore, who go out into the community as reformers should bear in mind the difficulty of managing human nature, and should remember that reformation is effectual only in proportion as it touches the fundamental wants of men. The temperance reformation is slow, is intermittent, and has its reactionary periods, because it strikes at the very strongest passions and appetites which exist in human life. It is an attempt of goodness to overcome badness. It is a promiscuous campaign carried on by all sorts of men. And the marvel is not that it is so slow, but that it is so fast, and that there is so much in it that is permanent. To the end of life and society, however, the work of temperance will be a thing to be done over and over again; and every generation will have to go through precisely the same process. Yet men must not be discouraged nor faint. Then, other men grow weary on account of injudicious labours, on account of undertaking too much, and on account of constantly attempting to work from wrong standards in themselves. Many a man works from the impulse of praise; and as long as he is praised, not to say flattered, he is encouraged, and works cheerfully; but when the praise ceases he begins to grow weary and discouraged, and it seems to him as though life had lost its savour. Others work from the feeling of pride; and so long as that feeling is gratified, and men look up to them, and show them difference, and submit to their control, they are buoyant, and work willingly; but when the gratification of their pride ceases, and men do not yield to them any longer, and they are obliged to humble themselves before others, they grow weary. The trouble comes from the fact that they are attempting to work from the standpoint of prominence and dominance, and wish to be masters. Other men work because they have a sense of duty, and a sense of duty ought to underlie every action of their life; nevertheless, if there is nothing but a sense of duty, it is a hard master that grudges reward; for the sense of duty increases with the performance of duty. The ideal of what we should be and should do grows with actual attainment, so that a man will live for ever in the seventh chapter of Romans, if his inspiration in life is for ever an inspiration of conscience or of duty. In view of these considerations, it is not strange that so many are weary in well-doing, and we see how manifestly it is right that we should exhort men, saying, "Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not." Be seed-sowers. Be husbandmen in the harvest-field. Sow and reap day by day. Sow at morning and at evening. Withhold not your hand anywhere. You know not which shall prosper, this or that, or whether both alike shall prosper; and be not weary of the work that you leave behind you; take it up again wherever you go; and in the spirit of the Master, carry blessedness, cheerfulness, hopefulness, happiness in your rounds, whether of rest, of pleasure, or of duty.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.