Jamaica Patois Wisdom – Effort

by Jefferson David Tant

The Jamaican Patois dialect is colorful, unique, and humorous. It is my desire to share some of the philosophy shown in this mix of colorful phrases that are witty as well as thought-provoking. I hope the readers both profit and enjoy. In my quarter-century plus of teaching there, I have come to appreciate some things about their culture.

Patois: If yuh waan gud, yuh nose haffi run

English: If you want good, your nose will have to run some

Meaning: If you want to achieve success, you have to work hard and endure some hard times.

Many are familiar with the saying, “I never promised you a rose garden.” Those who preach the “health and wealth” gospel seem to have a different idea, but that philosophy did not come from the Bible. It is obvious that some in this world have a far easier life than so many who live in poverty, persecution, or in other difficult circumstances, but that does not mean that they never encounter problems.

If the “health and wealth” preachers really believe their philosophy, let them go to the nations where believers in Christ are persecuted, tortured, raped, and beheaded. We are told that such times will come. “Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). Thankfully, not all Christians suffer such terror, for persecution comes in different ways. It may be ridicule, job discrimination, or ostracism. Jesus said our own families may turn against us. “And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child: and children shall rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 10:21-22). And we are reminded of the persecutions of the early Christians who were beaten, imprisoned, and put to death.

So … how do we deal with this? “But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are you: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, wherein you are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ” (I Peter 3:14-16).

What is the “good manner of life?” Obviously, it involves living by the high moral standard that God has taught us in the Bible in abstaining from sin. But it also involves diligence in labor that we may provide for ourselves, our families, and those in need. From time to time, Paul set the example of diligent labor. “For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail: working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (I Thessalonians 2:9).

The book of Proverbs is full of admonitions for us to be diligent in labor. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no chief, Overseer, or ruler, Provides her bread in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). And even in the workplace, we are taught how to deal with unjust masters. “Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endures griefs, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you sin, and are buffeted for it, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God” (I Peter 2:18-20).

And we must remember that we labor not only for ourselves but for the less fortunate. Paul and Barnabas were encouraged to “remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do” (Galatians 2:10).

Yes, there may be some difficult times in life, but if we “take it patiently,” we will find that the rewards far, far outweigh any difficulties we may have had in life. And success with God is all that really matters, anyway. The reward in “retirement” is far beyond our wildest imagination.

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