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. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7–8—NIV)

James tells us to take a page from the Farmer’s Almanac. We are often caught off guard by each change of season. In our day of hurried business for success, comfortable transportation, mindless entertainment, climate controlled living spaces and touted sophisticated living, we owe it to ourselves, and our Lord, to discipline ourselves to purposely listen to, feel and smell the seasons. The green-up of spring cheered by the song of birds, the warmth of the sun causing the earth to perfume the breeze, the crickets and katydids heralding the fall colors of the trees, and the smell and stillness of air heavy with snow teach lessons to those willing to listen, breathe, and remember.

There are many seasons through which our life flits. There are the obvious four seasons of the year and there are the not-so-obvious seasons of a lifespan. There are seasons of careers, education, parenting, business, finance, relationships, discipleship, grief, maturity, and yes, even seasons in our walk with the Lord. Human experience is full of seasons, but our lifestyle tends to inexorably force us to move on to the next distracting emergency without much note.

This turning of the seasons will end for every Christian, soon for some and sooner for others. Saints dare not forget the single most cherished prophetic doctrine, that of the imminent return of our Savior. The church longs for the rapture, for the rejoicing in His presence, and for the setting in motion of the Kingdom. But how should we await this blessed hope?

James applies the sage advice of the farmer. There are tremendous lessons for every believer as he navigates through the seasons of life with expectation. First, the farmer is making a living in a world beyond his control. He deals with realities and powers beyond his influence. There is not much he can change but his own wise stewardship of himself, his land and his seed, essentially all that is within his reach.

Second, the farmer depends upon the dependable. The seasons and the rains of October–November and of March–April are to be reckoned. He needs to be preparing his strength and his tools for the work of the planting and the harvest while it rains.

Third, all his livelihood is staked upon his faithfulness to the task. In our text it is called precious fruit. The Greek word is more precisely "dear" or "pricey." He hazards his time, talent, and treasure for fruit in its season.

Fourth, the farmer is vigilantly observant. Though the text speaks of the farmer it is also spoken to the brethren. Farmers are alone and yet not alone. They compare notes with other farmers of their observations and fond dreams, and lend assistance where they may.

Finally, they are stout-hearted, waiting patiently. The word is akin to longsuffering, long-spirited, long-tempered. It is used of a runner catching his wind that he may endure to the finish line of a long race. He refuses to lose heart.

In just such a way the believer is to work with stout-hearted durability in his labors for the dear fruit of life ever mindful of the seasons and the One Who controls them. The assuring word of James is the coming of the Lord is "at hand," it is drawing alongside and it is being brought together with us personally. With such a great hope of harvest already on the march to meet you, what manner of man ought you to be? Make it your study to be a thoughtful and industrious farmer in the fields of life. Trust and obey.