Whakatupu - Cultivate Patience
‘…when we live God’s way…we develop a willingness to stick with things…’
Galatians 5:23, msg
Patience is a way of responding to ourselves and the world around us that we are hard-wired to produce. In Galatians 5 we are presented with an invitation to ‘whakatupu-cultivate’ this fruit that comes naturally from the seeds that God has already embedded in our heart’s soil. The only thing asked of us to participate in this growth is to provide the right conditions in which the seed can grow, which is living God’s way.
Patience, as a ‘fruit’ doesn’t stand alone, rather is a part of a collective demonstration of the image and nature of God, of which we are designed to bear. As we read our sacred universal genealogy found in Genesis 1 we are reminded that we have been invited to represent God by bringing forth in our lives good things, and by tending to the garden of this world, that includes ourselves and our fellow humans.
To do this requires other expressions of Love that find themselves intricately connected to patience. Acts of kindness, acceptance, tolerance, mercy and forgiveness are all patient ways of being, not just to others but to ourselves.
If I can’t be patient with myself, forgiving my own brokenness as I head towards the fruition of my life, then I won’t be able to extend it to others either, rather I will project my pain onto the world around me. Forgiveness then is an integral part of the cultivation of patience.
This is well illustrated in the story of the King who began to call in the debts of his servants in Matthew 18. When one of the servants who owed him a lot of money begged him for patience, the King relented and extended more time for repayment. And yet that same servant refused to extend the mercy to a fellow servant who owed him a much smaller debt and had him put in prison. Upon hearing this the King had the servant punished, reminding him that the mercy he had received should have also been extended. This is a tough story that has a sharp end, but one that we need to consider as we are ourselves in need of great mercy and forgiveness on a daily basis!
In the World that we live in impatience is at an all time high. We are not prepared to wait for much, rather we live with a sense of demanding-ness, entitlement, judgement and arrogance, all the anti-thesis of kindness towards our fellow humans. These are destructive acts, leading to a type of de-humanisation, rather than human flourishing which patience can invite.
Rather than destroy ourselves and our world, let’s the tend the garden and cultivate the fruit that we are inherently designed to produce.