submitted by the Rev. James Henderschedt
There are, in the Younger Testament (which we erroneously call the “New” Testament), two Greek words that are translated in our more modern Bibles as “patience.” In both cases the words translated as patience is related to the concept of patient endurance. In older editions of the Bible the word “patience” is replaced with “long suffering” which is closer to patient endurance.
The first Greek word (humpomonee) is closely related to “patient endurance.” The second (makrothumia) literally means “long temper”….as opposed to short temper (short fused). It is in this understanding that the lack of patience is exhibited as impatience, being temperamental, loss of temper, blowing one’s stack, etc.
Both of the words are operable and correct in understanding the appropriation of the Spiritual Gift of patience.
Early in my ministry I made the mistake that young and inexperienced pastors make by expecting everyone to have the same time-table for getting church work done that I had. In this instance my “short temper” overpowered my long suffering, and I let the offender know of my disappointment (a.k.a. impatience) with that person. The end result was losing a good and faithful member and realizing, in hind-sight, the spiritual and emotional pain I inflicted on that person….something I have regretted for many years. My lesson in this is that patience taught me that it is not about me. It is about us and the Spirit, and the faithfulness of God.
This week, and the end of each day, reflect on your patience/impatience and journal what you have learned about appropriating God’s Spiritual Gift of Patience.