Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (James 5:7)

DURING MY SHORT CAREER in football as a junior high student, I played on the offensive line. I never quite mastered the delicate art of waiting for the quarterback to call the signal to hike the ball. I was anxious to block my opponent before he had a chance to run past me. I had a bad habit of jumping the gun, costing my team five yards every time I did. I still cringe when I see a lineman penalized for a false start. I have lived through that special kind of embarrassment more than once, and I know how hard it can be to wait for just the right moment on the field.

As a leader of the early church, James understood how anxious these first-generation Christians were for Jesus to return. It would have been easy for them to lose patience as they waited. They could have become discouraged in the face of persecution. They might have even given up on Jesus altogether. But James challenged them to develop the same kind of patience that farmers had to put into practice. It was a steady kind of perseverance that waited season after season, year after year, because the end result was worth waiting for.

The challenge then was—and is now—to be patient and listen for just the right moment.

Encourage a fellow Jesus-follower with your example of patience today.

Steve Wamberg is a husband, dad, writer, and pastor who loves his family, preaching, teaching, music, coffee, friends, and Nebraska football.