Busyness is the reality of the world in which we live. It can also rob us of the truly great and significant moments in life. If we’re not careful, days when we haven’t seen our friends turn into weeks and months. We’re halfway to our car minutes after the benediction has been prayed at church. When we do actually make it to functions, our bodies are present but our minds are processing a hundred different things.
A mind-set of busyness can also affect our temperament. Our schedules are set up in a such a way that we hardly have any room for the unexpected. Our to-do list is long and our patience is short. It doesn’t take much to lose our temper. But if we continue doing life at the speed of light, we’ll miss out on those special opportunities to develop deep and lasting relationships.
In the chapters preceding today’s Scripture reading, Paul reminds us that we are members of God’s family—the church. In natural families, there are sure to be personality clashes, disagreements, and misunderstandings. It is the same within our spiritual family. Personalities collide, arguments arise, and misunderstandings occur. Which is why Paul encourages patience, an essential virtue that implies endurance or waiting, something that is not the easiest for many of us.
This continual bearing with one another is motivated by love. Love, Paul asserts in another passage, is characterized by patience (1 Corinthians 13:4). Enduring with one another in love also implies a continual cycle of extending forgiveness and receiving forgiveness. As we continually yield to the Spirit’s way of life, God cultivates patience in us (Galatians 5:23).
Doesn’t it seem that our busiest times coincide with the times when our family and friends need our presence the most? A call to patience includes making time for the people and things in our lives. Someone is getting married. Another’s parent or spouse has died. Another has received an unfavorable medical diagnosis, and the list goes on.
We can come up with a million reasons to excuse our presence. But if we’re not careful, we can gradually lose the intimacy of our relationships—a missed dinner here, a forgotten coffee date there. Before we know it, a whole season of life has gone by and we’ve missed out on the most important things. Cultivating relationships takes time, sacrifice, and intentionality on our part. But we will find that constantly showing up—being there for the mundane and momentous—will help us build rich and lasting relationships.