“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited (II Corinthians 6:3)”.
My personality does not suffer fools well. This is not good news for me because in my profession I deal with a lot of young people who do not know the way. As a result, I tend to lose patience. I may keep it for a while, but usually something sets me off.
This happened today in fact. Someone who had none very little work all semester asked for more time. I refused and an argument ensued. I didn’t feel very good afterwards because I became agitated because I needed to give my attention to the students who were doing the work.
This is happening more and more in my current job and it is starting to remind me of a situation I was in a few years ago. I didn’t handle it very well and when I had the opportunity I ran. I took another job. In and of itself there is nothing wrong with that. But I have heard God keeps putting us through events over and over again until we learn the lesson he wants us to learn. I do not know if this is true, but I am beginning to wonder if this is what is happening in my case.
For the apostle Paul his ministry to others was greatly importance to him. He did not want to harm his message by saying the wrong thing or acting improperly. So he endured “troubles, hardships, and distesses” in a way that made him worthy of being listened to (IICorinthians 6:3-10). Paul also strenghtened himself through the power available from God and developed his character in trhe process.
One of the character traits he overcame was my old bugaboo: lack of patience. In my case I am tempted to lose my patience and engage in heated arguments or run my mouth. Or, I desire to send a scathing Email off to the powers that be to defend myself. The wise author of Proverbs Chapter 10 warns against us. Our mouth (or our keyboard) can get us into trouble.
This writer says that “a chattering fool comes to ruin” (v. 8,11). Instead, he commends the person whose words are a “fountain of life” and “discerning” (v.11,13). Being the kind of person commended by this author is far better than being someone who is overcome by violent speech from his mout that stems from an impatient heart.
Since I tend to spend a good deal of time in the workplace, it can’t help be a place of ministry. I carry Christ in there every day. There are a lot of people there who don’t know him and I can’t expect them to act like believers. But I should.
So until I get a handle on my impatience, depending on God’s Spirit to help me overcome it, I may find myself in my current predicament again and again.