I just want to share a brief story of a lesson I learnt more or less two weeks ago. Firstly, let me share how patience is something I know God is continuing to establish in me and like James wrote , “But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4, so my hope and prayer is that God’s will be done and that patience is established in me.
One day I was heading out to run some errands. I said a prayer before I went out and in my prayer I prayed for patience. Now usually when I pray for patience it would be for patience in general because it’s something I need daily, but this time I prayed for patience in something I specifically knew I would need to be patient in and that was standing in the line at the bank. Usually whenever I have to stand in lines I’m reasonably patient, though I can get frustrated with the waiting time, you can never tell by looking at me, but on this day things were different. Standing in the bank line can produce in me something that I can only equate to road-rage.
So, I went to the bank and as soon as I got in the door I saw a VERY long line, this was around the time many were there to cash their paychecks. I immediately lamented the minute I got in there about the length of the line, (not a very good start as far as patience went). The line was about 20 to 25 people maybe but it looked like this in my mind..
So, I joined this seemingly never ending line and after noticing that the line was pretty much at a deadlock for what seemed like an eternity I started to voice my frustration loud enough for the persons near me in the line to hear. I just couldn’t understand why it was that there were only two tellers that appeared to be working and there were about 5 or 6 stations for tellers to be posted at and the tellers that were serving customers seemed to be spending approximately a hundred years with each customer (obviously not literally, just how it felt to).
Others began to grumble and voice their concerns and I just could feel myself gradually becoming more and more irate to the point where I was ready to get off of the line, go up to the counter and inquire as to why the service was so slow, but I didn’t, it didn’t help that I was also starving at the time because I had no breakfast.
After a while a gentleman who worked there joined the line and was asking who was there for reasons other than cashing a check. He was directing those persons to another location in the bank to be served. You can only imagine how I felt.
I got off that line and went to be served elsewhere. After I was served and about to walk out the bank I looked back at the line and felt sympathy for those who now had to kiss their lunch break goodbye because they were not going to make it out of there on time. I went and got something to eat and as I sat there in the restaurant I thought back on what happened in the bank and I felt bad for how I conducted myself in the situation and how had I only waited somebody was coming to rescue me off of that line (though I didn’t know it at the time but God knew).
Now I know many would feel justified for being frustrated in a situation like that and I wouldn’t give them wrong for feeling that way, but displaying my impatience in a way that stirred up others to do the same really is what bothered me and I have to say that the prayer I prayed before I left home came to mind. Immediately I knew that I did not display patience and I caused others to to do the same.
James wrote in his epistle in the third chapter verses 5 and 6, ” Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” I couldn’t help but feel convicted that I did not hold my peace, that I did not hold my tongue and because of that in a way (even if it wasn’t my intention) I set a fire in that bank among some of the patrons waiting in line. None of us knew what was causing the hold up, all we knew was that we wanted to be served and get up out of there.
I thought about how my conduct perhaps was not worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I profess to others and that we are instructed in scripture to make sure our conduct is worthy of the Gospel at all times, (Philippians 1:27). Sometimes we may feel justified in our actions, as I did in that bank, but as followers of Jesus Christ we all have to remember that our conduct is not to be one that can stir up strife, we’re not to sow discord it’s one of the things that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). We’re supposed to be peacemakers, it is one of the attributes of those worthy to be called the children of God, (Matthew 5:9). I hope to keep this in mind at all times and hope that you are also encouraged to maintain self-control and make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, (Ephesians 4:3) no matter what circumstance we may be in and may the peace of Jesus Christ guard and rule in our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:15) and may patience have it’s perfect work in us. God bless you all.