James 5:8 (King James Version)
What does it take to become a sport’s champion? What do you need to do to achieve abundant wealth? What is the ingredient to have a great marriage?
For all three of these achievements, there is one component that makes them all possible: hard work. What does does hard work usually entail? It consists of focus in the given field and keeping at it no matter how hard it gets along the way.
Hard work goes hand in hand with patience. Unfortunately we live in a world where people want things, but don’t want to put forth the effort to achieve them. That is why there are so many “get rich quick” schemes out there. People want the easy way to wealth without putting forth the blood, sweat, and tears that is usually involved in becoming successful.
Why do people steer clear of consistent hard work? The answer is obvious, hard work produces physical and mental anguish. If you are trying to obtain wealth, you will need to find work that you may not want to do, but you do it because it is a higher income. You will have to deal with people you may not want to deal with, but if they are a customer, employee, or boss, you must work with them even if it is unpleasant. At the same time, if you want wealth, you need to mange your money with a budget; who wants to do that?
Being a follower of Christ also requires hard work and patience. You need to abstain from old habits because they would go contrary to your faith. You also need to do things that are really uncomfortable, like serving people that you would usually steer clear of, or confronting a friend who is living sinfully and you know that if you speak the truth to them you might lose that friend. We also need to deal with people who are hostile to our faith and would even hurt us if they had a chance. With so many hardships, no wonder a lot of believers have strayed from God’s will.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as instant wealth (despite what the schemes say) and the idea that once you are a Christian things will be easy is a myth. Each of them requires enduring patience. How can we be motivated to keep at the tasks we are given, whether that be attaining wealth or being a faithful Christian?
The apostle James gives us the hint in the verse above. Followers of Christ ought to endure because the end is nearly in sight. The end, when Jesus returns and will bring His people to Himself and rewards them for their faithfulness. The key to maintaining patient endurance is looking not at the present circumstances but the end goal which we will obtain if we keep at it.
For the person trying to acquire wealth, he must hold on to the dream that his hard work will pay off in the end and he will obtain the riches he worked so hard for. As for the Christian, we must believe that Jesus is coming. Otherwise all our hard work would be for nothing.
We don’t know when the Lord will return. It may be today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year; nevertheless we must persevere in our faith walk. For what would happen on the the one day you decide to slack off in your walk and the Lord appears. How would the Lord feel if He saw you in such a compromising situation? How would you feel knowing that you let the risen Lord down? Therefore, let us patiently endure, for the benefits in the end are totally worth it.