Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…
I. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIAN WAITING.
1. Christian waiting follows conscientious effort. It is not until we have striven to do our duty in Divine strength; it is not until we feel ourselves hemmed in, unable to take another step, that we are to "stand still and see the salvation of God." The apostolic injunction is: "Having done all, to stand." It is not until we have laboured that we are to learn to wait. To act otherwise would be to play the part of a farmer who may be waiting for a harvest before he has sown the seed.
2. Christian waiting is an outcome of faith. Faith in the Divine promises, fidelity, ability, and love.
3. Christian waiting is patient. It is a state in which fluttering and murmuring have no place; it is a state in which there is dignified self-restraint, and sweet acquiescence to that will which is recognised to be infallible, sovereign, and good.
4. Christian waiting is expectant. It is ever on the outlook. An attendant, who was asked to wake a visitor in time to meet an appointment, was lingering hard by for the purpose, when some one exclaimed, "What, sitting here and doing nothing!" "No," was the quick reply, "I am busy waiting." The man who is truly waiting for the "salvation of the Lord" is "busy waiting" — busy like one waiting for the day-dawn, or like one waiting to take the tide at the flood.
5. Christian waiting is necessary. God does nothing hurriedly. Did the earth, with her hills and vales, lakes, rivers, and seas, dark mines, and gigantic rocks, reach her present state in swift transactions? Did Jesus sweep down from the heavens as the Saviour of man immediately He was promised? Is human life rapid in its physical, mental, and spiritual growth? The development of that which is great cannot be forced. Perfection is not reached in a leap.
II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT BY WHICH CHRISTIAN WAITING IS HERE ENFORCED. The farmer is encouraged to wait by the thought that every sunrise prepares for, and accelerates the gleeful reaping time. So the believer is incited to wait for Christ by the assurance that His coming "draweth nigh."
1. His coming in some signal dispensation of Providence may be nigh. If there is no longer a "needs be" for our waiting, we may be sure that He will speedily come to crown our temporal and spiritual efforts with appropriate success; to solve perplexing problems; to deliver from envy, slander, oppression, and to satisfy the desires which He Himself has kindled.
2. His coming at the end of the world may be said to be nigh. "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand." "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly."
3. His coming at our dissolution may be said to be nigh. It cannot be far distant from any one of us; every clock-tick and pulse-beat hastens it.
(E. H. Palmer.)
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.