Live Coals: Life At Work II

A School of Patience

“Business life is a school of patience. In your everyday life how many things to annoy and to disquiet! Bargains will rub. Commercial men will sometimes fail to meet their engagements. Cash book and money drawer will sometimes quarrel. Goods ordered for a special emergency will come too late, or be damaged in the transportation. People intending no harm will go shopping without any intention of purchase, overturning great stocks of goods, insisting that you break the dozen. More bad debts on the ledger. More counterfeit bills in the drawer. More debts to pay for other people. More double-crossing on the part of partners in business. Annoyance after annoyance, vexation after vexation, and loss after loss.

All that process will either break you down or brighten you up. It is a school of patience. You have known men under the process to become petulant, and choleric, and angry, and pugnacious, and cross, and sour, and queer, and they lost their customers, and their name became a detestation.

Other men have been brightened up under the process. They were toughened by the exposure. They were like rocks, all the more valuable for being blasted. At first they had to choke down their wrath, at first they had to bite their lip, at first they thought of some stinging retort they would like to make; but they conquered their impatience. They have kind words now for sarcastic flings. They have gentle behavior now for unmannerly customers. They are patient now with unfortunate debtors. They have Christian reflections now for sudden reverses.

Where did they get that patience? By hearing a minister preach concerning it on Sabbath? Oh, no. They got it just where you will get it-if you ever get it at all- buying and reselling, discounting product, dealing with customers, plowing, running the assembly line, clocking in and out, answering phone calls. Oh, that amid the turmoil and anxiety and exasperation of everyday life you might hear the voice of God saying: “In your patience possess ye your souls. Let patience have her perfect work.” (Luke 21:19, James 1:4)

-T. DeWitt Talmage

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