Patience through the knowledge that God’s schedule is perfect -- I can indeed wait for Him.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today?
My heart just goes out to so many of you whom I know personally. Some of you are in circumstances where you’re going through the wringer; you’ve had some, some reversals, you’ve had some trials, some of you have had heartbreak and sorrow, and lost a child or a loved one. And oh, I just know that some of you need God’s touch so specially. I want you to know I’m praying that He will indeed touch and bless you – graciously, wonderfully, thrillingly bless you – and comfort you, and see you through the situation. Thank God. The key word is “through.” “When thou passest through the waters they shall not overflow thee.” God brings you through. Hallelujah! Just know that I love you and I’m praying for you, alright?
We’re looking at 1 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 3 – the qualifications of a pastor. As we go on with it, we took “not given to wine,” “no striker,” “not greedy of filthy lucre” – a hunger for money – and you have a similar word down at the bottom of the verse there: “not covetous.” It has to do with a love of money. The word that’s translated “covetous” actually is a compound word that means “a lover of silver or money.” A lover of money.
Now, you want to talk about that? There is never enough money, is there? I have a Cookism I use sometimes when I’m describing the, the distress that we feel at the lack of, of funds: “There’s too much month at the end of the money!” Never enough! I heard a professor talking many years ago at Midwest Bible Church. He said: “Now there’s one expression that we have around our house that occurs every so often. And it occurs whenever we get something new in the house. The last time it happened,” said he, “it was when we got brand new drapes in our living room. And we had them put up, and they looked so pretty, and then that phrase occurred. Do you know what it was?” he asked. And then he answered his own question. He said, “Just after we got those brand new drapes, and had them put up, and they looked so great, my wife said, ‘Now the next thing I want is…'” The people just broke up, because that’s so human isn’t it?
Never enough. Always a need for more. Someone asked Samuel Gompers, the founder of the Labor movement, “What does labor really want?” He answered with one word: “More.” Well, don’t, don’t hang it just on labor! Every person – whether he be laborer, or capitol servant, or master, or parent or child – we’re all human. There’s always that desire, isn’t there?
Now, what do you do about it? Well, I’ve known some people that so sublimated it that they weren’t any earthly good! Twenty years ago, approximately, a young man came to college, when I was president of the college, and the young fellow was just angry, angry at everybody – particularly at his father – and it showed up in everything that he did. Well, we got to know him, and we found out that that anger was based on the fact that his father had decided – mistakenly of course – but had decided that the best way to be really spiritual was to do nothing and let the Lord provide. And so, he sat around and meditated, and read his Bible, and tried to look spiritual while the rest of the family had to scrounge around for something to eat and clothes to wear. And there he was – sooo spiritual. He had no use for money. Well, I don’t think the Bible teaches that, does it? It doesn’t say that to me, in any case. The Bible’s on the side of diligence. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
“Fervent in spirit; not slothful in business; serving the Lord,” said Paul. Yes, you’re supposed to take care of the duties of everyday life. Give good service. Paul said, “You who are employees,” he said, “give good service, not as men-pleasers but as pleasing God. Whatever you do,” said he, “do it for the Lord, and not just for people.” You’ll find that verse there in Colossians 3.
Well, what of it then, Brother Cook. What are you driving at? I think it all depends on whether you use money or money uses you. There are some people… Now, you’ve met them, I know. I certainly have. I could give you name and address this minute of some people who, when you speak with them, immediately gravitate to the subject of money. That’s what they love. That’s their life.
A man said to me one time, “Money’s not to spend, it’s to save up!” And I’ll tell you, he saved every nickel. Well now, thrift, and, and saving money is not, not a bad trait. It’s a good trait. But when you love that sort of thing – when money begins to use you – then you forfeit your usefulness somehow or other. I can’t tell you why this is so. I can only tell you that it is so. Your love of making money is inversely proportional to your usefulness in God’s work. And you can, you can look around for your, for your own proof of this statement, and find people who would be greatly used of God except that they are so busy making sure that they make a dollar.
Now that doesn’t mean that you’re gonna be improvident, it doesn’t mean that you’re gonna be wasteful, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to be lazy and let other people take care of you on a kind of a spiritual, heavenly welfare. None of that is indicated. I believe in hard work, and I work hard, don’t you? And I believe in taking care of what funds the Lord gives you. You don’t put your money in a, just a plain savings account, you put it in a money market account or in something else that’ll bear as much interest as you can get. Why, of course! Good sense is not incompatible with spirituality. But when the idea of making money and multiplying money and amassing funds for yourself becomes the motivating force in your life, beloved, your usefulness in God’s work begins to deteriorate. It’s that simple.
Well, what do you do about it? Well, you simply remember that this is, this is sin. “Not greedy, not covetous.” The idea of loving money; a lover of money. And all that the Greek language does is to put a, what we call an “alpha privative” in front of the noun. Put the little letter “a” in front of it and that means “cancel it out.” Cancel it out.
I have a radio listener who constructs the beautiful, handwritten greeting cards that I sometimes use for very special purposes, and she sends me 10 or 12 of them at a time every now and then. I’ll drop her a hint – “Faith without hints is dead” – and she’ll send me 10 or 12 of them, and one of them that she sent – a beautiful card – she takes little flowers and presses them and then puts them on the front of the card and covers them with clear plastic, and they are gorgeous. Don’t ask me for any, ’cause I’m not about to send you any! But, on one of them, it said, “When you’re down to nothing at all, then, for the first time, you may realize that God is enough.”
It is that kind of a mindset that God is looking for. Not lazy, not slothful, not careless; diligent in business, taking care of your duties, giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; the whole bit in ordinary, good, faithful living, but overall committed absolutely to the Will of God, and what money He gives you, you use for Him. Does that make sense to you? Well, I hope it does. I think that’s what it’s saying to me, in any case.
Now, he says, “patient.” Patient. I remember 18 years in the ministry full-time. The pastorate, I should say. I’m still ministering, heaven knows. But 18 years in the pastorate, full-time, I would come home some days so completely fed up with hearing people’s complaints and troubles. I remember saying to Coreen one night, as I came home for supper, I said, “Dear, if I have to listen to one more complaint I’m gonna scream or bite somebody.” Well, I did neither, obviously. But you… Just, just dealing with the, with the needs and burdens and complaints of other people – while you’re sympathetic, while your heart goes out to them – it, it drains something out of you. Jesus was touched, on one occasion, by a lady who said, “If I may but touch the hem of His garment I shall be made well.” And in faith she reached out and touched Him, and Jesus, perceiving that virtue had gone out of Him, said, “Who touched Me?”
When people touch your life for help, something indeed of strength goes out of you, and so it is that the counselor and the pastor and the missionary oftentimes are drained spiritually and emotionally, and that’s why we need to spend time with God getting refilled and recharged, isn’t it?
Patient. Now, how do you face this whole matter of being patient? Is it a matter of grim determination that you will not give up, you won’t, you won’t talk back, you won’t lose your temper, you’ll just grit your teeth and stick with it? No, I don’t think so. Patience, well, patience is a byproduct for one thing. “Tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.”
The Holy Spirit of God, working in your life, will make the pressures of life a source of experience. That is reinforcement of God’s promises. “Hope” – that is a willingness to risk the situation on God. “Not ashamed” – that is a confidence that is willing to be identified as trusting God. And “love” – the overflow of divine, Calvary love in your heart. The Holy Spirit does all of that. I just quoted for you from Romans 5. Patience comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Second, it comes from, from being occupied with the eternal, inerrant, infallible Word of God and His promises. “Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them, or shake or upset them.” Patience comes from being occupied with the Word of God. Patience comes from knowing that God doesn’t pay all His bills on Tuesday. Wait patiently for Him. “Trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. When the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it.” God doesn’t do everything when I say He do it. His schedule differs from mine.
Patience through the Holy Spirit! Patience through the Word! Patience through the knowledge that God’s schedule is perfect and I can indeed wait for Him. All of that, and then patient because you know that God is working in people. “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” You can afford to be patient with your dear people, pastor, even though sometimes they may seem unreasonable to you.
Small thought: You seem unreasonable to your people just about as often as they seem unreasonable to you, so hold it, will you? Cool it. Chill it out. You don’t have to strike back at anybody, you don’t have to give up on anybody, you can trust God for everybody in your congregation.
Patience is what God the Holy Spirit will do for you, by His Word and on His terms. It’s good stuff, isn’t it? We’ll get at some more of that the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us good examples of good servants of our wonderful Lord. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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