Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…
I. BEHOLD THE CONTINUED AND PERSEVERING DILIGENCE WHICH PRECEDED THE EXERCISE OF THE HUSBANDMAN'S PATIENCE, HOW various and multiplied are his labours: he ploughed, dressed, fallowed, sowed, harrowed, his fields — and for what? — to wait until the softened furrows should allow the tender grain to sprout. Can you behold his preparatory efforts without emotion? Alas I we are verily guilty in this matter. What little diligence have we evinced — how disconnected have our toils been — how unwilling to repeat the effort, which appears pretentious!
II. MAKE THE SUBMISSIVE ACQUIESCENCE WITH WHICH HE EXPECTS THE PROMISED ISSUE OF HIS LABOURS. He, indeed, knows not which field shall best prosper, or whether both shall be alike good; but he quietly, and without distraction, waits the arrival of spring, when the tender herb shall appear. And shall he be wiser in his worldly ways than you, who are the husbandmen of the Most High? In providential concerns you are perplexed, and your fears are many; but why be careful for the morrow? Of what avail is this tumult of mind, this agitation of spirit? Under tedious delays, does this rebellion of heart do other than increase your misery? Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord; observe how the husbandman waits, how deep is the conviction that impatience will never accelerate his harvest. Moreover, in your case, your hopes are delayed by this temper. Suffer not your fears-I had almost, but for pity, said, your follies — to triumph. You are no proper judge of the length of time you have waited: every minute has been to you as an hour, or as a year. You misjudge the motive of his delay; it is, that he may commend your patience, as well as reward your labours.
III. OBSERVE THE ANXIETY WITH WHICH THE HUSBANDMAN EXPECTS THE SPRINGING OF THE CORN. Man is prone to extremes; if he may not be impatient, he thinks he must be indifferent; if he is condemned for standing still, he runs like some restive horse which will either not stir, or furiously gallop. But the farmer unites the two; though not impatient, he is far from unconcerned. Do you take an equal interest, as lively a concern, in the field you cultivate for your Great Employer? Go to the husbandman, thou careless and unconcerned parent; consider his anxieties, and be wise: recollect the domestic trust confided to you.
IV. But once more, notice the CERTAINTY characterises the patient expectation of the farmer; he waits till "he receive the early and the latter rain." The expression may be considered as comprehending all the kindly and sweet influences of the heavens, which are necessary for the precious fruits of the earth; and have these ever been withheld? But the profits of our fields are not so certain, by many degrees of probability, as is the reward of grace which is ensnared by His promise who cannot lie.
1. Before we conclude, let our attention be directed to One who has towards us exemplified long patience; who has frequently come and sought fruit from us, and found none. You think much of waiting a few months for your crops; or if your desires are delayed for a year or two, prayer and effort are both discontinued. Has He not reason to expect abundant returns from you? What more could He have done for you?
2. Let me point you to those inferior husbandmen who fairly expected to have reaped from you the reward of their labours, and yet have hitherto waited in vain.
3. Should the expectations of the husbandman in reference to any of his fields fail, he will again plough up the land; and, notwithstanding a few sickly plants sprinkled here and there on the surface of the ground, sacrifice all his toils and hopes, and prepare it for another crop. Thus has the Great Husbandman dealt with the nations at large: their privileges have been taken from them, and given to such as bring forth the fruits thereof: and thus will He act towards individuals who trifle with the means of cultivation they enjoy.
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.