Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I Want Patience - NOW!

I won't be wearing an "I Love New York" T-shirt any time soon. I enjoyed NY, but I'd be lying if I said I loved it. I loved seeing our son and daughter-in-law, I enjoyed seeing some sights that are historical treasures of our country, and I loved spending some time with our good friends Don and Kathy. So-if they come out with an "I Enjoy New York" T-shirt, I might wear one. I'm not into crowds, dodging people on the sidewalks, standing like sardines in lines for everything, and I'd have a very difficult time getting use to the Kamikaze traffic and constant noise. I heard more car horns in our first day in NY than I've heard in St. Louis over the last five years. Lots more!
I don't share that to bash NY. Remember, I enjoyed it. I share it because there are few things that symbolize impatience more than honking a car horn. Car horns lost their practical usage a few decades ago, but we'd feel cheated if we didn't have one in any car we purchased. They are tools of frustration to let someone know we don't like what they did, or that they need to hurry up! That is where the phrase "A New York Minute" came from. That is defined as the time between when the traffic light changes and the car behind you honks it's horn. It's also known as "a split second".
While I feel like I have grown considerably in my journey to be a more patient person, I still find it to be a daily struggle. Whether it's my computer that moves at a snail's pace or trying to fast forward through commercials when it's not a recorded program, I am reminded regularly, I have a long way to go. Now, if I could just hurry up and get there. Oh wait, isn't that being impatient about being patient?
I have to add to my list of confessions that I've never spent much time considering the last phrase of 2 Timothy 4:2. I've always zeroed in on Paul's charge to "Preach the word" and the challenge to be ready to "correct, rebuke, and encourage." Any good Bible major memorized this verse right after memorizing Acts 2:38. It's the "Preacher's Verse"! But what about that last phrase "...with great patience and careful instruction"? That sounds like good advice to parents or to some school teacher, but not something for any "go-getter-church-building-success-driven" young preacher! Ouch - or older preacher.
Yet, think about it - preaching the "word" - as Paul is presenting it, is preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified! It's not preaching about opinions, petty preferences, and personal exegesis that leads to Pharisaical patterns to bind. It's presenting Jesus! And if I am presenting Jesus I must be like Jesus! We preachers love the call to correct, rebuke, and encourage, but we must do that under the umbrella of Jesus and His love. Hence, "great patience and careful instruction"! They are the tools that Jesus would use to do the job He called on us to do.
Aren't you glad He doesn't honk a car horn every time we forget that?


Deborah said...

Fast-forwarding through commercials is not about impatience--it's about not wanting to get absorbed in our nations consumeristic mentality.

See, don't you feel better?

I'm think Elizabeth and I both got the "no large crowds" gene from you.

elizabeth said...