Christian Devotionals

"Hey, That Guy is Patient"

"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23  (New Living Translation)

I was departing for the airport on a business trip and running a bit late. I absolutely hate to be late and like all the stress associated with it even less. I pulled into the “Park & Ride”, parked my car, wrestled with my luggage and ran to the check in counter. The shuttle bus driver definitely saw me, but opted to pull away three quarters empty. "Thanks buddy, you couldn’t wait 10 more seconds?” Eons passed before the next bus arrived and I boarded immediately. This was April vacation and the airports would be jam packed with inexperienced travelers, loads of luggage, kids, strollers and other nuisance factors. Doesn’t anybody stay home anymore?

As my bus was just about to pull away, a family loaded to the gills comes rushing across the parking lot to catch my shuttle. I’m saying to myself, “No way are they going to make this bus. They’re scattered across the parking lot in total disarray. Sorry folks, round up your strays and wait for the next shuttle.” Wrong! This driver decides to wait for them despite the fact that they’ll be arriving in waves and it’ll cost us another 3 to 5 minutes. “Leave’em, another bus will be here shortly and my flight is overbooked. I have airport check-in … no seat assignment … I’ll end up sitting in a middle seat between two teenagers with pierced tongues. Leave’em!”

As my impatience peaked, the Lord taught me a valuable lesson on patience and how a godly man should conduct himself. The father of this group asked the bus driver in a remarkably polite manner, “Will we be able to make this bus? If not, we don’t want to hold everyone up. We’ll take the next one.” The driver paused, much to the dismay of everyone onboard, and the family came towards the bus ever so sloooowly. Next the man’s wife stops short and yells that she either forgot something or can’t remember where she put it. She’s unzipping her oversized carryon bag and frantically searching through it as we all wait. She’s all upset and flustered and starts to take it out on her husband. This would be the moment where Joe Rieger lashes out with a few choice comebacks: “Oh, so it’s my fault that you didn’t do a final check before we left the house (like I asked you)?” …. Or ….“Find it because we’re going to Wally World with or without you … I’ll send you a postcard.” Well not this guy. He assured her that it was okay. He told the bus driver to go on without them and he thanked him for waiting. He then went over to help his wife. Just then I recognized the couple. He is a youth pastor at nearby church. There was something about his demeanor and the way he treated everyone involved in this stressful situation that was different (unnatural). He was a godly example of patience, politeness and kindness. He exhibited the fruit of the Spirit and was acting like Jesus. Can you imagine if he “lost it” in the parking lot and made a scene in front of everyone?  What a lousy ambassador for Christ he would have been (2 Cor. 5:20). What if there were people watching who knew he was a pastor? They would never view him in the same light again or perhaps it could have been the deciding factor in determining whether or not a new family joined that congregation.

This provided me with a sobering lesson in self-control. Moreover, I was convicted of my own selfishness and preoccupation with getting my aisle seat, no bulkhead please. Even if no one is watching, God is watching - always! Our behavior can either please and glorify Him or it can bring Him sorrow and cause others to look unfavorably upon Christians. The choice is ours.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (New King James Version)

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