Sermon on June 22: Patience

15 07 2008

 

Well, here we are.  We have finally reached the mid-point of my Seven Part Series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  We are three down – and after this Sunday, there are three more to go.  We have talked about how when the Holy Spirit moves in – when the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us – that we become changed people.  Within us – from deep within our soul – we begin to bear certain Fruits.  We become a people who exhibit – AGAPE – Love.  The unconditional love of God.  We love God.  We love each other.  We become the kind of person who reflects the same kind of love with which God loved us.  We become the kind of person who exhibits – CHARA – Joy.  We become happy – joy-filled, because we have – EIRENE – Peace.  Our souls are quiet because we know that all is between ourselves and God.  In everything that we do.  In everything that we are.  People see our joy.  We are at peace.  Our souls are quiet.  All is well between us and God.  Life is good.

 

          Well, now we move on to number 4 – the Fruit of the Spirit that St. Paul calls – makroqumia.  After I read this I went to my Greek/English Dictionary and I discovered that this word is translated as long-suffering or patience.  But then I dug a little deeper, and I discovered that this word – makroqumia  has a slightly different meaning than just patience.  It actually means tolerance.  Let me share with you what I found one commentator saying:

 

makroqumia , longsuffering, is translated by both the revised Standard Version of the Bible and the New English Bible as ‘patience’; perhaps ‘tolerance’ would give the idea better in modern English.  It is the quality of putting up with other people, even when patience is sorely tried.

 

          The other day I was heading up to Buehler’s to pick up a few things for Doris.  I came to this light which was red and there was this gentleman in the car ahead of me.  The light turned green, and he didn’t move.  I waited a couple of seconds.  He still didn’t move, and you want to know why?  He was busy talking on his cell phone.  So just to give him a gentle reminder of how he could go now, I honked my horn a couple of times.  He got angry at me.  He shook his fist at me.  Can you believe that?

 

          Then I got up to the store, and I was going down this aisle to pick up a couple of things, and about half way down the aisle there were two women with their carts alongside each other, busy talking, blocking the aisle.  I said, very politely, “Excuse me!”  They ignored me and kept right on talking.  “Excuse me!” I said again, a little louder.  Finally they looked at me with, rolled their eyes, and one of the ladies said, “You’re not very patient are you?”

 

          Finally I got to the check out lane with all my stuff.  There was a man ahead of me with a few items.  He emptied his cart.  Paid his bill.  And moved down the row a little waiting for his groceries to be bagged up, leaving his now empty car blocking me.  I gave it a little push, thinking he would get the idea of pulling his car the rest of the way and out of the way.  He looked at me, kind of huffed, and then walked away, leaving his cart for me to move. 

 

makroqumia is the quality of putting up with other people, even when patience is sorely tried.

 

          The Fruit of the Spirit that we are talking about is – makroqumia – tolerance.  The ability to put up with other people, even when patience is sorely tried.  It is the ability to deal with other people as God deals with us.  God shows infinite patience to us.  You know, I sometimes look at the way that I act.  I look at the way that I am.  I look at the things that are going on in this world, and I sometimes wonder why God tolerates our behavior?  I wonder why God doesn’t do to all of us what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah?  Why doesn’t He just erase this world as a failed experiment?  Well, one of the reasons is because of His makroqumia – His tolerance.  His tolerance – His ability to put up with us, even when patience is sorely tested.  His makroqumia which I think comes from His extreme AGAPE.  His love for us.  His love for us which has nothing to do with how we act or behave and has everything to do with who He is.  He is LOVE.  He is AGAPE.  And it is this AGAPE that allows him to be tolerant.  It is the combination of His love AGAPE and His MAKROTHUMIA which resulted in the sending of Jesus Christ who lived and died and rose again so that all of us could know – would know the extent and the depth of his Love and His patience.

 

          And now St. Paul is telling us if we are truly His children – if we are truly people in whom the Holy Spirit lives and breathes – people in whom the Holy Spirit has taken up residence – people who have been changed and re-arranged by the Holy Spirit – then one of the things that we exhibit – one of the Fruits of this Spirit that is visible in us – is tolerance – the ability to put up with other people, even when patience is sorely tried.  We show the same tolerance – the same patience – the same longsuffering – that God shows to us.

 

          So here we are at that point that we have come to every week for the past three weeks.  We are at the point in the sermon where I am going to try to answer the question – What does the pastor want the people to do?

 

          I want you to show the same patience that God has shown to you.  This week when the kids are pushing you to the limit – remember the love and the patience that God has shown you.  When your parents are bugging you to nth degree – remember the love and the patience that God has shown to you.  When your co-worker – or your boss – or the person who works for you irritates you – remember the love and the patience that God has shown you.  When your neighbor does the same thing for the 100th time that has always irritated you – remember the love and the patience that God has shown you.  But most of all when you are sitting at a light and there is a Lutheran minister sitting at the light, talking on his cell phone when the light changes to green – remember the love and the patience that God has shown you.

 

Amen!

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