The middle school teacher leaves her classroom with clear instructions to read the assigned chapter, answer the questions at the end, and keep the noise to a minimum. She says she will be back shortly.
What happens next in the classroom is predictable. A few students do as they are told. Some students half-heartedly do the work and begin to talk among themselves. But there are a handful of students who take advantage of this opportunity to spread mayhem. A “lookout” is posted at the door.
“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming… be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering… we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” — James 5:7–11
Too often the present-day church looks like a middle school classroom without the teacher. This is in spite of the fact that the Lord has given us clear instructions as to how to live and act. Jesus, along with the writers of New Testament scripture, is emphatic about His return. And yet some of us act indifferent or rebellious, content to allow others to watch for the returning King.
In these verses, James tells us twice that the Lord is coming. His second caution is stronger, proclaiming the Lord’s return is imminent. James admonishes us to persevere and be an example of patience. He tells us to cease grumbling against each other.
A Better Day is Coming is a hymn by Grace Davis and it describes what our patience and perseverance will bring:
O, a better day is dawning, a day that knows no night,
When all sorrow shall be banished and ev’ry wrong made right!
God will take away all fear, wipe away your ev’ry tear.
O, a brighter day is dawning, a perfect cloudless day,
Day of glorious revelation, all darkness rolled away,
Free from burdens now we bear, free from all perplexing care.
O, the happy day is hast’ning when we shall meet again!
Those for whom we here have longed, we shall meet on Eden’s plain.
Death can never enter there, Jesus’ glory we shall share.