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The Faith-Filled Patience of the Farmer–Pastor/Elder Paul and Dale

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“Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious
fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains. You also, be patient.

Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand,” (James 5:7-8).

Elder Dale Mattson and I were talking this week about trust and patience in the Christian walk. With
Dale being a farmer by trade I commented how scripture uses the analogy of a farmer to display the
type of patience we need to walk in as believers throughout our journey with Jesus in this life. As
believers we are called to a life of faith-filled patience in God through various sufferings. Dale expressed
how over the many years of being a farmer, each year he has had to display faith. He labors to plow the
field, prep the soil, purchase and plant the seed, fertilize at the proper time, and then patiently wait for
God to bring the rains (early and late) and cause the seed to grow. Dale says, “I can do all that work, but
it is God who makes the crop grow. It’s all in his hands, not mine.” Over the years Dale says God has
grown his faith and patience in God through the trade of farming. “Each year it is still hard to trust
because there is always something that poses a challenge, Dale says, but God always provides what is
needed and has never failed to provide.” In the passage above, James is encouraging his audience to
labor in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in preparing soil, fertilizing fields, planting the seed of
truth, and then patiently waiting for God to bring about the spiritual growth. It is a work done in faith-
filled patience. In the context of James this gospel work is met with sufferings of various kinds that God
soverignly brings each of His people through. Using the farmer analogy again, a farmer labors in the heat
of the sun, in the wet of floods, in the dry of droughts, in the harsh winds, none of which the farmer has
any control over. Yet he is to obediently labor in faith and at the same time patiently waits for God to
bring about the “precious fruit of the earth”. James says, so also you believer, be patient as you labor in
the heat of sufferings, dryness of exhaustion, in the discouragement of rocky soul, etc. He speaks to our
aching weary heart, by exhorting the believer to, “establish your heart, for the coming of the Lord is at
hand.” We do and speak what is in our hearts. So brothers and sisters, root and ground your heart (no
pun intended) in Jesus Christ and His good sovereign plan for you in the midst of trials. There is an end
to suffering and there will be a fruit borne of God’s doing and He really is coming back!! Only be patient
and put your trust in the Lord while you farm in the field God has given you.
Another example James uses is the prophets who spoke the Word of the Lord to a stiff-necked and
rebellious Israel. There was no immediate fruit the prophets saw. They were called to a life of faith-filled
patience. The people treated the prophets harshly as they spoke truth. How discouraging it must have
been. Yet in the difficulty should Isaiah have thrown in the towel when the people repeatedly rejected
the Words he spoke from the Lord? What if Ezekiel and Jeremiah decided it was a vain labor to speak
God’s words knowing the people would not listen anyway? It was by the help of the Spirit of the Lord
they continued to scatter the seed of truth waiting patiently on the Lord for Him to bring about the fruit.
The fruit did come, but it was not until generations later. It is those who have looked to Christ who have
become the firstfruits of the message God proclaimed through them long ago and culminated in life
death and resurrection of Jesus who triumphed over sin and death and now offers the free gift of

forgiveness and eternal life to all who would put their trust in Him. This is such good news and at the
same time laboring patiently while enduring suffering is still hard!
While we are enduring trials and sufferings in this life, seeking to see some fruit from our labor, the last
thing we want to hear when we cry out in the difficulty is to be told, “be patient”. Our heart says, I want
relief now, I want results now, I want to see some fruit now, but that is not what we are promised right
now. Rather we are told to be patient. Not a passive patience, but rather in the walking of faith and the
spreading of the seed and the working of the fields we entrust the “precious fruit” (ie. souls coming to
the Lord and the visible fruit of the Spirit in the believer) to His mighty miraculous work just as the
prophets did. That’s pretty freeing! I don’t have to make the fruit happen, in fact I cannot in me or in
others. Rather, I get the privilege of participating in the work of our life giving creator God through the
ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, establish your hearts! Ground all your hope
and trust in Jesus Christ. Not only for endurance in your own hearts as you battle sin but also in the
ministry to others that God calls you to. In addition, we can genuinely count it all joy in our sufferings
because what the farmer does not often realize is God, the master grower, is causing growth both in the
farmer by growing His faith and in the crops of the field by growing an eternally good harvest. Brothers
and sisters, remain steadfast! “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.” (vs. 11)
Your fellow farmers,
Pastor/Elder Paul and Dale

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