There’s Actually Something Else More Important Than Ketchup?

Carly Simon wrote the song, “Anticipation” in 1971.  I’m hearing the tune play in my head as I begin this blog.  

Carly said she wrote this song about Cat Stevens while she was waiting for him to pick her up for their first date.  

classic_Heinz_Ketchup_Anticipation_TV_ad_1979_YouT

In the late 70’s…this same song was made famous by a Heinz Ketchup commercial. Heinz Ketchup is thick and pours slowly.  In the commercial, a young boy would be shown waiting patiently for the ketchup to come out of the bottle as the chorus of “Anticipation” played in the background.

Our Bible TEXT:  JAMES 5:7-11

Well, I know something else that is more worth waiting for than KETCHUP.

It’s the day when:

  • In the twinkling of an eye…
  • That trumpet will sound…
  • We will see the One riding a white horse whose name is faithful and true…
  • The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will return to take us home!

Until that day comes, we must WAIT–BE PATIENT in waiting for the Lord, because it will be worth the wait!

JAMES tells us in verses 7-8,

The Message bible:

A_Little_More_Patience[7] [8]  “Meanwhile friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.  Be patient like that.  Stay steady and strong.  The Master could arrive at any time.”

 

In VERSE 7, James says, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the LORD’S coming!”  

“BE PATIENT” comes from a compound of “long” and “temper” – [Bible Knowledge Commentary.]  

The idea I received from James’ letter, is Setting the timer for a long run; Focus on the final lap in the race of life; Look ahead to the Lord’s coming.

Even though he doesn’t state it that way exactly, another side of this that I believe James is getting at:

DON’T BECOME IMPATIENT!

In other words, do not lose heart; don’t get discouraged; never give up!

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (AMP):

[7] I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race.  I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

[8] [As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day–and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

The world, and yes, even some churches, have tried to tell us Jesus’ return is fiction (the “preterist” view).  But we should know that when God makes a PROMISE…He keeps it!

We know and keep heart, that the RETURN of Christ Jesus is being delayed to give more people a chance to respond to the GOSPEL message.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV):

[8] But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

[9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

JAMES tells us instead to be like the farmer who waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land.  

(Verse 7) “[See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains.”  

The early and late rains of Autumn and Spring.

The first germinates the SEED and the second MATURES it.  The farmer may wonder if he is ever going to see the FRUIT of his labor, but he waits patiently until he receives the HARVEST and the financial benefits that come with it.

The Coming of the Lord is at Hand!

JAMES tells us that we should be like a farmer (verse 8).

Believers are to allow the assurance of Christ’s return to help them be PATIENT and take courage.

Whatever the circumstances, JAMES is encouraging us to be rock solid in our FAITH; to have a faith-inspired JOY that interweaves every part of our lives.  Like the farmer, we invest in a long time future HOPE.

  • We need to stand firm; to strengthen; to take courage; to stand firm in one’s mind.
  • We must set our hearts upon the LORD’S RETURN, for His return is near!

The idea is that it is drawing ever so close and it can happen at any moment.  So we must focus, set our hearts upon His return–be looking for it every day just as the farmer looks for the great day of harvest.

Now I am not suggesting that we all just sit around, waiting for Jesus to return, but we should live with the realization, that time is short and we have important work to get done.

Keith Green, a songwriter, singer, during the mid to late 70’s, wrote a song entitled To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice with this beginning lyric:

“You say that I am coming back soon, but you act like I’ll never return”

We must not be like the “wicked servant” who hid his master’s talent in the ground, but until He comes, we must be about the Master’s business.

JESUS is coming soon, so we must be about the business of the kingdom; reaching lost souls for Christ’s sake and not our own!

We Also Must Be PATIENT with one another (verse 9):

LIVING BIBLE (TLB), says it this way:

[9] “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers.  Are you yourselves above criticism? For see, the great Judge is coming!  He is almost here.  Let Him do, whatever criticizing must be done.”

JAMES, in verse 9, says “Don’t grumble about each other”.  Most people, I think, knows what GRUMBLING means, but perhaps a reminder might be appropriate here.

Google’s online dictionary:  [1] “complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.”

OUCH!

a37f21ba274e26480a1ee3c64c041f67How many times have I used the synonyms associated with “grumbling” about someone, or something within the body of Christ:  bellyaching, beef, bitching, griping…  

“Grumbling” against one another indicates a careless attitude of speech.

Jesus tells us, in Matthew 5:22,

“But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment.  If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell”  (NLT)

And as a side-note of emphasis:  If your bible translation uses the word “Raca”– the Jews used it as a word of contempt; it is derived from a root meaning “to spit”.

Finding yourself grumbling after a Sunday morning service? 

“The pastor’s message left me flat”–you just “spit” on your pastor.

“OUCH”, again!!

The JUDGE Stands at the Door –

JAMES tells us that our major concern about this kind of behavior is “the Judge standeth before the door” (KJV).

If we believe that JESUS could come at any minute, in the twinkling of an eye, then we don’t want Him to find us doing what He commanded us not to do!

The JUDGE is not far away, but He’s standing at the front door.

The knowledge of Christ’s presence not only is comforting, it can also be convicting–especially when we begin behaving as if he were far away:

  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us doing His will.
  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us obeying His Word.
  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us doing what is right.

We Must Be PATIENT Like the Prophets of Old (verses 10-11)

lord-give-me-patience-13-728

VERSE 10 (AMP):

“[As] an example of suffering and ill-treatment together with patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers].”

Part of JAMES’ point here is that God doesn’t preserve FROM suffering those He has called, rather, He PRESERVES them IN suffering.  

They, the Prophets of old, are an example to all believers because of their obedience and faithfulness, despite the hardships they endured.

PATIENCE OF JOB –

Now Job may have complained, but he did not stop trusting and obeying God [SEE Job 23:10-14].

And the LORD did restore him!

I particularly noticed in study, how James, in verse 11, gives encouragement to his readers–

“…and you have seen the Lord’s end, inasmuch as the Lord

is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.”

The LORD’S “end” or goal, is for us to grow in FAITH & CHARACTER through it all!

Through, or “IN” our difficulties we encounter.

God doesn’t enjoy watching us going through ‘stuff’–SUFFERINGS.  He allows each one of us to FACE PAIN, physical or spiritual, because a greater good will be produced EVEN THOUGH we don’t always see it!

In the meantime, JAMES is encouraging us to…

TRUST IN GOD,

WAIT PATIENTLY and remember,

GOD’S TENDERNESS AND MERCY!

In what area do you need PATIENCE today?

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV):

[31] But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;

soaring_eagle_15012

…they will run and not grow weary,

…they will walk and not be faint.


CREDITS:

Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Keith Green – To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice Lyrics @ http://www.metrolyrics.com

Google Online Dictionary.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified (AMP); The MESSAGE; New Living Translation (NLT); New International Version (NIV); King James Version (KJV).

The Waiting Spiritual Farmer

James 5:7-12 (NAS Bible):

[7]  Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.

[8]  You to be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

[9]  Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

[10]  As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

[11]  Behold, we count those blessed who endured.  You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of Compassion and is merciful.

[12]  But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgement.

“DIGGING FOR RAIN” – A Story of a Farmer and his young son:  [See Footnotes [i] ]

One of my favorite authors, Don Nori, wrote a book that I just finished re-reading titled Secrets of the Most Holy Place – Volume Two.  Although, Mr. Nori’s intentions might not be directed towards PATIENCE and ENDURANCE, the Holy Spirit certainly spoke to my spirit in response to Verse 7 , James Chapter 5:

“Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it…”

PATIENCE WITH ANTICIPATION:

A FARMER and his young son were walking through the fields of corn they had planted just before the spring rains came.  They had thought this was going to be the best year ever.  The rains had been heavy for almost three weeks.  When the corn sprouted, it appeared as though it had leaped from the ground.

1196027736_d56d2432f2But that was all the rain that came.

Here is where I believe PATIENCE comes into play. The farmer and his son look towards the heavens daily as high thin clouds passed overhead and still no rain.

They walked together through the rows of stunted cornstalks while kicking up dust of the hardened earth covered their feet as they went.

One afternoon, the young boy mentioned to his father that the neighbors were calling a prayer meeting after supper.  The farmer kneeling beside a cornstalk acknowledged the prayer meeting by nodding, then saying, “The harvest rain will be too little and too late for this crop.”  He was hopeful, but his patience was wearing thin.

“We need water right now and we need the harvest rain too.  That would save this corn, maybe even make it a good year.”

At that point, the young boy thought his dad might not have heard his announcement of the evening prayer meeting asking the Lord for rain.

“Do you want to go? ‘Cause if you do, Mom and I will go too.”

The farmer smiled, nodding his head yes and saying “Yes, we will go to the prayer meeting tonight.”  As they walked back to the farmhouse, the farmer’s son, almost speaking to himself said, how cool it would be if the spring rain for the harvest could be saved.  Just in case the harvest rain wasn’t enough.  Although young in age, he believed in the Lord and knew He would not let them down.

The farmer stopped in his tracks, turning his attention to his son and asked him to repeat his last statement: “What’d you say, boy?”  His son immediately thought he was in trouble for his outspoken thoughts:  “I was just joking, Dad.  I said I wished there was a way to save the spring rain for the harvest.”

But the farmer wasn’t irritated, nor mad at all:  “Boy, I think I hear the Lord talking to me through your innocent little mouth.”

Never reaching the farmhouse and grabbing a pick and shovel laying in the dirt, began digging a hole in that spot.  But what about the prayer meeting they were all going to attend?  With the farmer’s actions, his anticipation of the results, he already knew the answer.  “The spring rain is right here in the dry creek bed at the edge of the cornfield.  Leastwise, it’s where it was the last time I saw it!”

Although Mr Nori’s story lingers on in detail, I wanted to skip over some parts [you can read it in detail by getting his book] and get to the conclusion of the story.

After digging through the night, while missing the prayer meeting, the farmer was strengthened by the prayers of his wife and the confidence of his son while he dug.  When the meeting at the church was over, his son stopped to see his dad’s progress.  There the farmer was still enthusiastically digging in a deep hole, so deep that a needed step-ladder was barely visible above the hole.  Getting his Dad’s permission, climbing into the hole, the young boy climbed down the ladder to help his dad search for the rain.

After some time, digging together by the light of a lantern, the water began to spring up like a geyser as they ran up the ladder as the hole quickly filled with water and began pouring into the field.

3393017119_841f9602f4

Now, what does this story of a farmer and his son, digging for rain, have to do with James 5:7-12?  

I LOVE THE WORD OF GOD!

I can never say this too often, “I love the Word of God”.  I believe it to be  inspired and inerrant.  I believe the Word to be God’s revelation of Him self to man.  As someone once said, no matter whether I believe it or not, the bible is still God’s truth.

The BIBLE is our tool to gauge our life.  It addresses every topic you will ever face, and has every answer we need to live a righteous life.  I LOVE GOD’S WORD!

I do love some of its subjects and situations it deals with more than others such as HEAVEN!  But, I also have to deal with hell’s reality.

I love reading and receiving Holy Spirit’s insight and to God’s voice dealing with FORGIVENESS.  But at the same time, addressing the issue “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I do have to confess, I don’t enjoy some of the topics while reading, studying and teaching over the years in the Book of James.  I’ve had to examine certain sensitive areas and shortcomings of my own life, as we all should in reading God’s Word with application.

PATIENCE!!!

The “P” word…Now I would rather just skip over this.  The word James uses for PATIENCE and ENDURANCE in the original Greek implies for Christians “to stay put and stand fast when you would really like to run.”

James gives us 3 examples–

The Farmer (verses 7-9):

If you are an impatient person, then you shouldn’t be a farmer.  Like the story of The Farmer and His Son, although discouraged from lack of rain, he wasn’t impatient when awaiting God’s directions, then took action.

FARMERS MUST BE PATIENT!

They must be PATIENT with the SOIL.  The farmer must pain and toil preparing the soil to sow the seed.  Being an avid home gardener, my patience sometimes run thin:  I just added compost and fertilizer last year for the results.  Why do I go through this every year?   PATIENCE…

The Jewish farmer would do the sowing of the seed every year after the early rains.  They must be PATIENT with the seed after the soil is prepared and the seed is shown.  And, they must be patient, with the season.

Why does the farmer willingly wait so long?

VERSE 7:  Because the fruit is “precious”.

I don’t use the word “precious” in my conversation or writing.  Maybe it doesn’t seem manly.  After looking up the definition with the corresponding synonyms, PRECIOUS means “COSTLY”.  You and I, as children of God, are PRECIOUS in God’s eye.  Remember the song Jesus loves the little children…they are PRECIOUS in His sight.

THE HARVEST BRINGS REWARDS:

James is picturing the Christian here as the “spiritual farmer”…waiting for a spiritual harvest.

James reminds us, as Christians, the SECRET TO ENDURANCE is when the going gets tough, is that God is producing a HARVEST in our lives.  He desires the FRUIT of our spirit to grow.

We also must remember the farmer doesn’t stand around doing nothing.  As the farmer in the story tells, “he grabbed the pick and shovel and started digging.”  As James mentions, our faith without corresponding action (“works”) of obedience is dead (James 2:26 AMP).  

Then in James 5:9, James urges these believers NOT to “grumble (complain) against one another.”  Too many times in my own spiritual walk, I become IMPATIENT with other believers instead of letting God have His perfect timing.  He will complete in us what He desires.  In His time.

THE PROPHETS:

The early believers would have been familiar with this example of James of the Old Testament prophets.  When we read how these faithful servants suffered, it should offer us encouragement–ENCOURAGEMENT knowing God is in control, even if our five senses aren’t detecting it.

These prophets encourage us by showing they were in the will of God, yet they suffered proclaiming their message in “the name of the Lord.”

The prophets encourage us by reminding us that God cares for those who suffer for His sake.  Someone once said “the will of God will not lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”  As the apostle Paul said, “God’s grace is sufficient.”

JOB (James 5, verses 11-12):

 Job is the classic example of a man who PATIENTLY ENDURED suffering and was blessed by God for his persevering FAITH.

James reminds the believer there are BLESSINGS for those who PERSEVERE through it all.  Job lost all he had except…a nagging wife non understanding, and non supporting friends.  Job didn’t understand what the causes of his suffering were.  He didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes between God and Satan…yet Job endured!

VERSE 12 seems to be out-of-place with the context of James’ message.  Think for a moment, how often during trials and suffering, trying to deal or bargain with God in the process.  “If you will do this and that God, I’ll do this.”  That is an OATH–a promise.  An “OATH” is a verb indicating the action of “invoking a curse” and “binding oneself under an oath” (See Footnote [ii] ).

Waiting for the HARVEST
Waiting for the HARVEST

 

 

Footnotes:

[i]  Secrets of the Most Holy Place – Volume 2 by Don Nori – Copyright 2004.

[ii]  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin.