That’s the connection that Scottish theologian William Barclay makes
here, based on the words in 2.19: “I know your love, your faith, your
service and your patience.” Barclay—who was the early 20th century version of
Tom Wright—connects these two pairs. And, for what it’s worth, I think
N.T. Wright would too.
There’s only two reasons why I do anything: either because I want to (or
I really don’t want to face the consequences of NOT doing it), or
because I love someone who wants me to. In either case, I’m serving
someone. It’s my love that leads me to serve. The more I love Christ,
the more I serve Christ. The more I love myself, the more I only do
those things that serve me.
To be honest, I find this part easy. I love him A LOT, and it’s natural
for me to connect the dots between loving him and helping others, loving
others, serving others, befriending others, crying with others, etc.
But I find the other bit absolutely excruciating!
It’s not that I’m impatient per se, it’s just that the instamatic coffee maker takes way too long.
I’m not in a hurry, but school zones are just suggested speeds, right?
And those extra-large shoulders on I-94 are supposed to be for passing
during rush hour.
I jest. The real reason I’m impatient in these areas isn’t because of a
lack of faith. It’s because I’m a jerk. In other areas, however, the
absence of faith is easy to perceive in my lack of patience. For
example, I’m impatient with myself and my own personal development. I
want to be a better leader NOW, a better teacher NOW, a better friend
NOW. I want to conquer my anger TODAY, and curb my disappointments and
melancholies THIS INSTANT.
But God isn’t into microwave maturity. He wants to slow boil me into a
new man, to put me in the crockpot of Christ and get me done well
through the middle. That’s hard for me to want, but I want to want