I work in a Christian workplace. You can impose your own definition of "Christian workplace," but at the very least it means that my company is eligible to participate in the annual "Best Christian Workplaces" survey. We place in the top three every time we take participate, which leads me to suspect that we may just be the best Christian workplace ever. I took that survey yesterday, because my boss's boss asked me too, and I'm one of the best Christian employees ever.
Anyhoo, the survey asked a battery of questions about compensation packages, employee empowerment, responsibility and responsiveness of management, and workplace spirituality. We rank the workplace on a scale of one to five, with five being best. Questions about spirituality are among the more difficult to address, but one question in that category gave me pause, something along the lines of "Employees at my company exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, etc.)."
What caught my attention is not that some of the fruit of the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work in our lives were relegated to an "etc." It's that before we even get to the "etc." we skip right over the fourth fruit listed in the sequence of Galatians 5:22-23: patience.
I know the fruit of the Spirit by heart because I learned a song about them during a Vacation Bible School about a decade ago, and it's one of those songs that never exits your head: "You've gotta have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, . . . goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, 'cause this is the fruit of the Spirit." Without "patience," the song falls apart; the rhythm is all off.
I think it's funny that the "Best Christian Workplaces" survey skips right over "patience" in its attempt to determine which Christian workplace is, in fact, the best. It seems to assume that patience, while certainly a spiritual fruit, isn't a marketplace asset.
However, I submit that without patience, the rhythm is all off. Without patience we don't relate to one another in constructive ways. We don't allow for professional development in the young and the new, and we don't allow for the slower but wiser methods of the long-tenured. Without patience we turn inward and elevate our private agenda against the interests of others and the overarching interests of the organization. Patience isn't just a fruit of the Spirit, it's a virtue, and as such it's a corporate asset--at least in a Christian workplace that aspires to be the best.