His Return on Investment
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. [James 5:7]
A return on investment is a common phrase in business. “What’s the return on investment?” is a question addressed in many a corporate board meeting. After all, a business can only continue if they make more than they spend. And so, with every investment there needs to be a return on that investment. It really is a simple concept, yet one that is not always easy to execute.
There are other types of investments that do not center on money. Things like investing into your children or into your marriage. These investments have great returns as well and nothing to do with money. There are, however, some things that are common to all investments: Time, commitment, and patience.
James gives us the example of a farmer. “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” Now waiting patiently doesn’t mean being lazy. Rather, to the contrary, it means being ready. It takes work, commitment, and time to be ready! Any farmer will tell you that they don’t just sit around waiting for the rain. They are up every day before dawn readying things for when the rain comes. Farming demands time, commitment, and patience.
And so it is with our life of faith on this earth. As with farming, the walk of faith takes time, commitment, and patience. But in the end these things bear fruit, great returns; returns that the world knows not.
Jesus forewarned, “In this world you shall have tribulation” [Jn 16:33a]. Then He went on to say, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” [Jn 16:33b]
As we patiently wait for His coming, we can patiently endure tribulation because He gives us the grace to be of good cheer. This doesn’t make sense to the natural man; but it is a reality for the one who walks by the Spirit. God’s grace is sufficient for us: “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” This is as true today as it was in Paul’s day when he wrote it.
It is in the looking upward and forward [patiently] to His return that His grace becomes knowingly sufficient in this fallen world.