Third Sunday in Advent

James 5: 7-10

A Sermon by Dr. Richard A. Wing, Co-Pastor, December 15, 2019


Driving with my one day, she asked, “What are you preaching on Sunday?” I said, “Patience.” She started laughing so hard; glad she was not driving or we would have driven off the road. She said: “Please, don’t use yourself as an example.” “Of course not” I said. “I always preach about things that are my own weaknesses.”  In the book of Hebrews it says that the only priest worthy of that name is the one who “misses the mark” in life as much as those he/she preaches to. The point is that you never give a “you” message, but only a “we” message. From priest and everyone else are in need of God’s grace. “There is none righteous: no not one.” Minister need to remember that when entering the pulpit.  I remember one sermon only from my teen years. The minister said “there are 44 virtues. If you mastered just one, all the others would take care of themselves.” The one to be mastered was patience. When called a genius, Michaelangelo answered:  “Genius, is eternal patience.” That deserves contemplation.

 Earl Palmer reminded me that Greek is a very precise language. The word for PATIENCE is a compound word. Two words put together. Macro + Thumia. 1. Macro means distance. 2. Thumia is the word for rage, fury or strong passion. Macrothumia is to distance yourself from fury or rage.  Depending on which part you emphasize it can mean slightly different things.

Here are two definitions or the word: 

First meaning of macrothumia: The first definition is what we see in the parable of the Unjust Steward. The first servant in the story owes 10,000 talents (a 15 year wage). The debt is forgiven by the king because the king knows he cannot repay it.  Now, this forgiven servant leaves and bumps into a man that owes him a day’s wage. He pushes the man to pay up and he cannot. The servant has the man thrown into jail. The king hears about this and has the forgiven slave thrown into jail with the man he would not forgive. The point of the parable: you must from your hearts forgive if you are to be called followers of the way of Jesus. Patience in this sense is to put a distance between you and rage.

The Second meaning of the word macrothumi places emphasis on the maacro part,not the thumis part. It means to wait creatively. To take the long view, ie. The distant view. The big picture. So, forget everything but this: Patience is a choice, not to give in to fury but to put a distance between us and hasty negative action. Patience is that quality of life that takes the long view in what we want to achieve in ourselves. We offer the same space to others. The greatest expression of love is patience. PATIENCE KEEPS NO SCORE OF WRONGS ON ANYONE, INCLUDING OURSELVES.

James 5:8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. THOSE WHO HAVE EARS TO HEAR, LET THEM HEAR!

James 5:7 ¶ Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! James 5:10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. James 5:11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful