Friday, August 3, 2007

The Fruit of Longsuffering

Charity suffereth long....I Corin. 13:4

Years ago at a gift exchange, I received a book that has come to be close to my heart. The book is Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards. You know how some of the old writers are, they're not always the easiest reading, at least not for me, but they usually pack in so much meaningful stuff, its worth it to dig and plow because there will certainly be a harvest in one way or another. It just takes a little time. In this work, I particularly have been ministered to by the section on longsuffering.

Our suffering is so minimal. Someone says something to offend us. Someone wrongs us in the way they treat us on a particular issue. Very little physical suffering. But think of those who are being persecuted around the world: some severely, some imprisoned, some losing their lives. Big in the news right now are the South Korean hostages being held by the Taliban. There are many more.

After giving the examples of David, Stephen, and Paul, Mr. Edwards says this:

And not only do we have these records respecting inspired men; but we have accounts in uninspired and mere human history, of the remarkable heroism and long-suffering of martyrs and other Christians, under the most unreasonable and wicked treatment and injuries received from men: all of which should lead us to the same meek and long-suffering spirit.

So, the next time we want to take offense for "wrongs" against us, let's remember these words.


Cami said...

I agree about the classic writers, and must confess, I only read classic writers for this reason; their works have survived the greatest test of all, the test of time.

Yes, one of my biggest lessons has been learning to endure the bad opinions of others without harboring a bitter spirit or a desire to vindicate myself. As you say, our sufferings are minimal--
in light of eternity's reward.

God bless you, Friend.

Mimi said...

I think that we all think we are long suffering, while in fact we don't suffer at all. I enjoy your blog very much.. it was introduced to my by my daughter Jodi (Deputy Domain)
I am enjoying very much getting acquainted with some of you ladies in the Bloglines

Kathy at Sumballo said...

Thanks for this essay. You're right, we often avoid the classics because of their writing style. But the content is so worth the work. I was hoping to highlight the South Korean hostages in my blog so I'm glad you beat me to it! We need to be praying for our fellow believers who are being persecuted. I'm going to go look for "Charity and its Fruit" to read.

Rita L. Betti said...

Wonderful words Maxine. You hit the nail on the head . . . we are not good at suffering long or short. In fact 21st century church doesn't like any suffering at all. It's one of those lost virtues.

Beverly said...

Its so true that we truly don't know the meaning of suffering. We get so "hung up" on such trivial things ... as a whole we are indeed a selfish generation.

Jodi said...

During my parents' July visit to our home, my father began reading a book of Jonathan Edwards' Sermons. Before they went home, I had introduced them to CBD (online Christina Bookstore), and they had ordered that book plus another two volume set of his works. One thing I find fascinating about Christian writings is that they never age because they are based on the absolute truth of God's Word.

Regarding this topic - suffering. I agree that as a whole the church experiences no real suffering in our country today. And many take offense entirely too easily. One of the phrases I use when the children are gearing up for an argument with one another is "Love is not easily offended and is patient." We must learn how to react in love. [And I'm still learning ... for the record. ;o)]