Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
In July 2013, the normally quiet U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., was abuzz with activity.
A line of people stretched around the block to see, and smell, the main attraction: a rare, 8-foot-tall titan arum in bloom.
The titan arum blooms for one or two days about every seven years. Weighing 250 pounds, it is the largest unbranched flower in the world. It resembles a calla lily and is commonly called the corpse flower because it emits a strong stench of rotting flesh when it blooms in order to attract carrion beetles to pollinate it.
The titan arum is a native of the rainforests of Sumatra and requires constant warm temperatures and high humidity.
Cultivating a titan arum takes lots of careful attention and patience.
In the same way, cultivating relationships with friends and family members takes patience.
When Paul described the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13, he began with, “Love is patient.” Yes, love also is kind, selfless and a host of other things, but patience tops the list.
Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment besides loving God is loving others. And if “love is patient” ... well, you see where this is going.
Being patient with the people in our lives-our family, our friends, our coworkers-is not an easy task.
I like the old saying: “Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, seldom found in woman, never found in man.”
Famous American botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey once said, “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”
The same can be said of our relationships. They take time and effort. But when we learn to be patient, control our emotions and love those around us unconditionally, we will enjoy the fruit of our labor in stronger and deeper relationships.
The next time someone makes your blood pressure rise, take a moment, take a deep breath and focus on letting the love of Christ shine through you.
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).
1. Describe a time when you lost your patience and had to deal with negative consequences.
2. What can you do to be more patience with the people in your life?
3. Is there one person you can focus on being patient with this week?
Paul Leavens is the Minister of Lindsay Christian Church. Visit the church website at www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.