Last year during hurricane season, the storm chasing reporters were right on it. They swarmed into the tiny, coastal villages and interviewed everyone on site. One particular guy stood out to me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget him.
The wind was whipping around him and his wife as the reporter asked about the ensuing tempest. Most folks had already left town for safer climes, and the correspondent seemed to be a bit concerned. He asked if the guy and his spouse would hunker down or exit the premises.
The gentleman was trying to be patient as he answered the journalist’s queries. He offered that he’d be staying until it was apparent that the coming hurricane would make it too difficult to remain. At that point, he said, he and his wife would get on their boat and head to safer areas.
“I’m a Sailor!”
By that time, the broadcaster seemed to become a bit more anxious for the man and his better half. He anxiously asked if the man thought he would be safe on the ocean. In reply, the man abruptly announced, “I’m a sailor, not a village idiot!” And with that, the interview was over.
I think the sailor stood out for me because I know I would have become impatient with the reporter’s incessant questioning as well. His retort was classic. I’d like to think I could have come up with such a quote in the heat of the moment. Those kinds of instances are really gratifying.
That’s not to say it’s a good thing to become impatient with people. As they say, patience is a virtue. In fact, the Apostle Paul told us that patience is part of the fruit grown in us by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22). I’m guessing, however, that we have to be fertile ground for such a harvest to be reaped in our lives. Sometimes I’m all too happy to misplace my patience—it can be rather enjoyable cutting irritating people to the quick.
Sons of Thunder
Once, the Disciples were traveling through Samaria with Jesus. They came through a certain Samaritan village where the people were less than hospitable to them. The two brothers, James and John (the ones Jesus nicknamed, the “Sons of Thunder”) lost patience with the attitude of the entire village. The turned to the Savior and said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54).
Even if you don’t know the story, you can probably guess what happened. Jesus reprimanded them, and he led his motley crew out of the unwelcoming village. My guess is that James and John were pretty quiet as they traveled on to the next town.
In life, there are times when we feel as though we’re surrounded by people who think we’re village idiots. The most satisfying reaction would be to call fire down on their heads. That doesn’t seem to be the way of Christ, however. Maybe I should ask for a bit more patience.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]