"...With complete patience..." (2 Timothy 4:2)
Ever been on a massive road trip, one which takes coordination and planning? I have, often with family, sometimes with church folks. Many times, I'm the guy in charge. It takes a plan to get from A to Z. You gotta pit stop. You gotta take bathroom breaks. You gotta know where to take breaks. And where not to. Sorry, Fresno.
And it takes patience. You must sit behind that wheel and drive. The time slips by, but so do the miles. With patience, the destination comes.
But we often wish we could arrive more quickly than possible. Miles are miles, though, and the journey takes as long as it takes.
Paul desired to see Christ formed in the lives of his hearers. And that destination requires Scripture, so Paul told Timothy to "preach the word in season and out of season." He said Timothy must, "reprove, rebuke, and exhort" as he taught. And he also said Timothy must do the work, "with complete patience" (2 Timothy 4:2).
Pastor, there aren't any shortcuts. You are in it for the long haul. Expect to be tested. It takes a long run to see the fruit you wanna see. You've got to endure. But those miles are ticking by, and Christ is being formed in the people you serve. Do the work of preaching with complete patience.
But, if we're honest, it's all too easy to lose patience. Our limitations are so glaring, and they tempt us to quit. The slowness of progress in the lives of others also screams at us to stop the fight. But patience is required because the deep-seated convictions humanity carries around are not dislodged easily or quickly. It takes time.
The word of God is like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces (Jeremiah 23:29). Sometimes you can see its chiseling effect, but often you can't see a darn thing happening until -- BOOM -- the boulder crumbles. The hammer pounded and pounded until the work was accomplished.
Change and transformation are often private and invisible. But patiently endure, Bible teacher. Keep doing the work. Have complete patience. When you lose it, you become salty, and the work slows. You'll never speed up the work of God in someone's life by becoming disillusioned or bitter. Instead, have complete patience and preach the word.