SCRIPTURE:  Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8, NIV. 

 Patience of Job   
    M
ention the word “patience” and many people will associate it with the Biblical Job, Patriarch of Uz, in the Old Testament. Someone who endures in the presence of difficulty is said to “Have the patience of Job,” and we nod knowingly. Resorting to my dictionary, I find:
PATIENCE: “1:  bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.
    However, my reading of the Book of Job indicates much complaint, against his friend’s viewpoints, to the point of impatience: “restless or short of temper especially under irritation, delay, or opposition.” In fact, my references do not indicate that a word directly meaning “patience” is found in the entire Book of Job. I will grant that Job exemplifies the definition of PATIENCE: “4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity,” but Job also keeps moving forward.
    Job endures. He is steadfast, he “hangs in there,” he persists in defense of his innocence, and pursues God until he receives an answer. I find passages alluding to Job’s righteousness (Job 1:1,5,8)  and fortitude (1:20-22; 2:10). Just to be picky, the section relating complaints by Job, and replies by his three friends, comprises chapters (not verses -chapters!) 3 to 37! This I say neither to discredit Job, nor to imply that he is not without his virtues, but to suggest that there is more depth to this story than a mere word, a word that is not actually used in the telling.
    Consider the “Parable of the Sower” as told by Jesus, in Mt. 13:1-23. His emphasis is on the seed, and alludes to the depth of understanding by the “one who hears the message.” Read again Mt. 13:16, where Jesus  says,“Listen then to what the parable of the  sower means.” He is talking about both persistence, and patience. The hearer of the word who has little or no root (understanding) “lasts only a short time.” I think His words are plain enough that we grasp the meaning.
        The seed is the message of the Word of God; WE ARE THE GROWTH MEDIUM,  in which the word sprouts, and then either grows to fruition, or withers and dies.
    True, we must patiently wait upon the Lord, but not to the extreme that we do not actively grow. When the withering sun comes out, ie., the “heat” of  opposition, difficulty, or adversity, do we fold our leaves - er, hands, and say, “I’m being patient, LORD!” Or do we actively, vigorously, put down deeper roots?
    Now, consider the farmer, the sower. Hopefully, we will grow to become the  disciple that strives to fulfill the terms of “The Great Commission” -‘make disciples, baptize, teach’ - (Mt. 28:16-20.) Certainly, this means to work as a “sower” of the seed of the Word of God. In fact, James writes about “patience” in terms of the farmer waiting for the land to yield its valuable crop, and advises us as brothers and sisters in Christ to “be patient and stand firm.” (James 5:7-11)  I note, however,  that while the Greek text uses a word translated “patience” in verse 7, James used a different word meaning “perseverance,” or “steadfastness” when referring  to Job in verse 11, saying, “you have heard of Job’s perseverance!”
    Peter provides a listing of the virtues needed to “participate in the divine nature of God” in his second epistle. (2 Peter 1:4-11)  Peter also uses the same word as James, meaning “endure” or “persevere” rather than the word meaning patience.  ( 2 Peter 1:6)  
  
     Yes, we must be patient in our quest to be a sower of the Word of God, but great endurance will also be required. “Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:10)

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