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Trying Your Patience

I Thessalonians 5:14
We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

A kindergarten teacher was having trouble helping a little boy put on his cowboy boots at the end of the school day. The teacher pushed and pulled in every direction to squeeze the boots onto the sock-clad feet. By the time she finally succeeded, sweat was dripping down her forehead. Her relief immediately disappeared when the small cowboy looked up and said, “These are on the wrong feet.” Sure enough, they were. She took a deep breath and began tugging the boots loose. When they finally came off, she and the little boy worked together to put them back on the right feet. Success at last! The child looked up and her and smiled, “You know, these really aren’t my boots.” Biting her tongue to keep from scolding him, she calmly struggled to pull the ill-fitting boots off his feet. As soon as she had wrestled them off, the little boy pointed to a name written inside one of the boots and said, “See, they’re my brother’s boots, but my mom said I could wear ‘em!” The exasperated teacher didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Nevertheless, she mustered up what little patience she had left and wrestled the boots back onto his feet one more time. There!—completely shod. She helped him into his heavy winter coat and asked, “Now, where are your mittens?” The boy said, “Oh, I stuffed ‘em in the toes of my boots so they wouldn’t get lost-ed.”

Thank God for patient teachers; we all depended on them in our past, didn’t we?!

They are a good example of the way we should treat our fellow brothers and sisters: that new believer who comes into church ready and anxious to learn, not realizing she is dressed inappropriately; that person in Sunday School class who raises his hand at every question and never stops talking; those teens in youth group or at home who show little sign of having a close walk with Christ; that co-worker who irritates you the moment you walk into the office; that family member who never seems to do anything for you but expects a handout continually. How will you respond?

Patience is more than a virtue; it is a necessity—a quality that must be developed in the life of every believer.