Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Microwave Minute

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4
It’s funny how times have changed and our patience has dissolved into thin air.  Growing up in the 1960’s, we had to have a lot of patience just for daily living. 
If you didn’t like what was on TV, you got up, walked across the room, and turned the dial on the TV to another channel.  Channel surfing?  It didn’t take long since you had 3 channels at best.  Sometimes, you’d even have to adjust the rabbit-ear antenna to get the channel to come in clearly, which took time…and patience.  Miss your favorite show?  Tough cookies! There were no VCR’s, DVR’s, Hoppers, are anything like that.  You got one shot, and you planned your life around when that show came on.
If the phone rang, you had to get up and answer it to find out who it was.  There was no caller ID.  And if you didn’t get there before it quit ringing, too bad!  There were no answering machines or voice mail. You had to wait for the caller to call you back.  And if you were on a party line, which means you shared a phone line with a neighbor, you had to wait for their call to be completed before you could even use your phone!     
If you had a math problem to calculate, you got out your paper and pencil.  We didn’t have calculators.  And if you mess it up…turn that pencil upside down and erase…not backspace. 
Checking out at the grocery store took longer, especially if there was a price tag missing from an item.  “Price check at register 3” was a common intercom announcement, and meant you would need to wait till they found an item like yours with a price tag.  There were no barcode scanners or computerized cash registers.
If you wanted to buy soda, you had to remember to bring your bottles with you to the grocery to exchange for the ones you bought, or you’d have to pay the bottle deposit. 
If you forgot to put gas in your car, you’d soon be made aware of it with a clunking, gurgling sound and be made to pull off the road.  You would have to sit and wait until someone had mercy on you and offered you a ride to a gas station, or gas.  There were no little red lights to come on to remind you to fill up.  There were no cell phones in your pocket to call for help.  You waited.
If you didn’t like the song playing on the stereo, you had two choices.  You could get off the sofa, walk to the stereo (which was as big as a coffee table) and move the needle on the album to the next track, or fast forward the 8-track or cassette to the next song.  Of course, if you fast forward past it, then you do reverse, and fast forward again, and reverse again, and fast forward again, continually pausing to see where you were on the tape.
If you took photos at a family gathering, you had to wait till long after the gathering was over to see how they turned out.  The film had to be dropped off at the drug store, mailed away to a photo developer, and then you returned days later to the store and paid for your photos – whether they were good or not!  If you wanted to share them with someone, you took them along for your visit with them.  And if you’d made a strange face in a photo or your hair wasn’t just right – too bad!  It was in print and recorded for history! 
If you wanted dinner, you laid out the meat to thaw early.  There was no way to defrost it if you didn’t.  You cooked dinner either on the stove top or in the oven.  There were no microwave meals, no frozen “T.V. dinners”, no heat-and-eat canned foods, and no Hamburger Helper! 
The funny thing is that without the comforts of life we now find necessary to daily living, we didn’t realize the patience we possessed!  Looking back, it’s easy to see the endurance we possessed in how we survived!  Today we nearly have a breakdown if we cannot fast forward through a commercial, there are more than 2 people in front of us at the checkout, a person doesn’t immediately text us back, or if the microwave takes more than a few minutes to cook an entire meal!
James says in chapter 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  Surely, we are lacking endurance.  We snap at the tiniest inconvenience!  Is our faith tested? Yes.  Do we fail? Most definitely.  Are we made perfect and complete? Not yet! We avoid tests of our patience, rather than accepting that this is part of the growth process of a Christian.
In this age of the microwave minute, we have to work at fortifying our patience in the same way we have to work at strengthening our faith.  We have to gathering up our self-control over situations, putting a harness on our tempers, and get rid of our lazy “I quit!” attitudes. 
In Luke 21, Jesus speaks of the end of times. He explains that we will be in times much like today, with nations rising against nations, persecution of Christians on every hand, earthquakes, hunger, diseases, and trouble.  He says that our own families will turn against us, and we will be hated because of our love for Him.  He leaves nothing hidden, telling us that some of us will die because of our belief in Him.  But Jesus instructs us to not worry about these times, not to become anxious.  He says that it will work to our advantage as a time when we can give our testimony, when we can stand for Him.  And then He tells us in verse 19, By your patience possess your souls.  It is through patience in the times of trial that we will endure the race.
In this era of the microwave minute and instant gratification, we have to stop and learn to be patient in all things so that the troubles to come will not destroy us.  We have to count to ten - maybe ten thousand - before we lose our self-control.  We have to endure the trials we are given, growing and strengthening our patience.  We have to understand that we are being put to the test so that through our patience we can become “complete, lacking nothing”. 
Patience is a characteristic of love (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Patience is the foundation of mercy for others (1 Timothy 1:16).
Patience allows us to endure need and want (2 Corinthians 6:4).
Patience is to be pursued, a goal to be attained (1 Timothy 6:11).
Patience is expected of the sanctified Christian (Titus 2:2).   
Patience is the fruit of faith put to the test (James 1:4).
Patience allows us to endure the times to come, and strengthens our hope in the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 14:12).
Patience allows us to become “complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).

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