"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of (tender) mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;" Colossians 3:12
If you ever want to test patience in your life, you only need to take a trip to Disneyland and endure hours in line only to enjoy a ride that lasts all of 60 seconds. Another great test of patience is when you try to teach your kids how to do something a certain way. We often forget that we were once little kids ourselves, and that we had to be taught most everything we now know. The fact of the matter is if you are not learning, you are not growing. Life should be a constant classroom as we learn from others, and whether or not we allow ourselves to be taught says much about our mindset.
Several years ago, I started working at Target and it was my introduction to the retail world. During my first two weeks on the job, I was being trained by someone in a different store who was quite experienced in the role I would be doing. His job was to teach me the ins and outs of the job, and he was pretty stern in how he led his team. He encouraged me to be stern as well, and he had little patience for anyone who did not meet his expectations. He got things done in the time he was given, so I figured this was the way to be. My mind did change a little bit when he was that way with me, and he showed little patience with me and expected me to pick up everything he was teaching me after the first week.
My pride was challenged, but it was his job to train me and my job to learn. I finished the two weeks with him and my new boss at my store was even more impatient than my trainer. I soon found myself scared to ask questions or ask for help. One day, all my employees had gone home for the day and the cardboard baler was full and needed to be emptied. My boss had shown me once how to do it, but for the life of me, I could not remember. I did not dare ask for help from my boss, so I scoured the back room looking for anyone else who knew how to do it. I ran into a guy named Jeff, and I asked him if he could help me make a bale. He did not hesitate and he stopped what he was doing and walked directly over to the baler. He gave me step by step instructions and helped me make a bale, which I was most grateful for.
A few months went by and I was again faced with the same dilemma of having to make a bale with no one around, and once again, I had forgotten how. I did not see anyone in the back room, and just as I was about to quit looking, Jeff came through the double doors. I hated to ask him again how to make a bale, but I had no choice as there was no one else around. I cringed when I asked for his help, but he didn’t bat an eye and showed the same patience he had the previous time. He gave me step by step instructions and helped me make a bale the second time. I paid better attention and even took notes this time around. I noticed in my time there at Target that Jeff was patient with everyone, and I never saw him get frazzled or angry with anyone who asked him for help. His attitude caused me to evaluate my own impatient demeanor, and he made me feel ashamed as he displayed a character quality that I desired to have. His patience impressed upon me something I have never forgotten.
Where are you today friend? Are you patient with others as you should be? Do you find yourself getting frustrated with those around you? We are commanded to be longsuffering, patient, with one another. God is longsuffering with us, but yet we often forget that fact when we easily grow frustrated when people do not act as we would have them to. May we guard against lashing out due to our impatience, and may we never forget the patience the Father displays with us.
Stay in the fight!