A: Yes, the Bible certainly talks about impatience and the bad things it can bring into our lives -- just as it talks about patience and its benefits. The Bible says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
Why is impatience harmful? First of all, it harms us -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. But it also harms our relationship with others. Impatience easily turns into anger or even violence, and these are the opposite of God’s plan for us. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Have you ever asked yourself when you’re most likely to become impatient? It’s probably when something happens that delays you or changes your plans, and over which you have no control. But if you can’t do anything about it, why get upset? I know that’s easier said than done, but simply realizing that you can’t change the situation may help you relax and accept it. The Bible says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience” (Proverbs 19:11).
The key, however, is to realize that patience -- true, lasting patience -- isn’t something we can develop on our own. Instead, it’s a gift from God, given to us by the Holy Spirit. Have you ever confessed your impatient spirit to God, and asked Him to make you a more patient person? He will, as you yield your life and your emotions to Christ, and then seek to become more like Him.
Q: Our pastor recently retired after almost 25 years, and I’ve been placed on the committee to search for a new one. What kind of person do you think we ought to look for? Must it be someone just like our old pastor (which is what some people want)? — Mrs. N.H.
A: Some people would probably be very comfortable with someone who reminds them of their former pastor, but that shouldn’t be your main criteria. God may even want someone with a different personality or with different abilities from your old pastor, and you should be open to this.
The most important thing your committee and your congregation should be doing, however, is to prayerfully seek God’s will and God’s wisdom in this matter. God knows your needs and wants to guide you to the person He has already prepared for this responsibility. It’s not too soon to be praying also that your congregation will welcome and support and encourage your new pastor. The Bible says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.... so that their work will be a joy, not a burden” (Hebrews 13:7,17).
What qualities should you seek in a pastor? First, your pastor should have a strong commitment to Christ, and a definite sense of God’s calling to be a pastor. Then your pastor should be a person of integrity and honesty. A pastor’s life also should be marked by prayer, faith, compassion and love. Your pastor should be a person of vision, as well, seeking to strengthen believers and reach the lost for Christ.
No pastor will be perfect (just as your congregation isn’t perfect),but pray that your new pastor will “Preach the word.... correct, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.