More so than ever, we have a desire in our culture for instant gratification. Microwave ovens, the internet, remote control devices and electric garage door openers are just a few things that speak to our desire for instant gratification. We want what we want right now.
But ironically, with all these modern conveniences that are designed to save us time in theory, they have instead led to a more hectic lifestyle.
Geoffrey Godbey, a professor of leisure studies at Pennsylvania State University, states, “We want everything fast—fast food, eyeglasses in an hour … Internally, we are rushed.”
Pastors are feeling it too. One pastor recently complained that, if he wants to pay a visit to a member or a church prospect, he must make an appointment because it seems people rarely stay at home or have any “free time” to talk when they are home.
The desire for instant gratification also affects people’s reactions to proposals or activities in the church at times. People often get antsy if worship goes a little over an hour. Some want to see the results of a campaign or building program sooner than is realistically possible, in some cases.
It is when we get caught up in the demands of instant gratification that we need to take a step back and remember what the Bible says about patience:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Be patient, therefore, brothers until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8
What we all know, but need to be reminded of now and again, is that some things in life and many things in the Church do not happen instantly. We need to be patient with ourselves, with God, with our Church leaders and with our brothers and sisters in the faith.
And our patience will pay off. As Scripture says,
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Things may not happen right way, but they will happen according to God’s plan for us.