The Work in Guyana

     Early on Monday morning, March 6, Mitch and Camilla Fuller and Ginger and I will leave for a short trip to the South American country of Guyana. As most of you know, we try to take this trip each year to check on our work there and make plans with the brethren for the summer campaign in Bartica. We have found over the years since the addition of the bridge over the Berbice River that we can accomplish what needs to be done by moving quickly from one place to the next without a lot of down time.

Constancy of Character-3

     It is one thing to think about having constancy of character in general terms. It is another thing to think of this principle in specific terms. As we continue to consider this subject from Paul’s point of view in Romans 12 we can be thankful that he provided specific directions for us as we seek to be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds.

Constancy of Character-2

     We have been thinking about some things centered about the theme of constancy. Last week we began in Romans 12 with the subject being "constancy of character." This week we continue our thoughts.
Paul deals with a number of ideas in this chapter but one of them is that even though we are many members we are still one body (Romans 12:5). He expands on this theme here. We also find this idea set in 1 Corinthians 12.

Constancy of Character-1

     We have been thinking recently about the idea of constancy as a theme of life. The constancy I have in mind is grounded in a good and proper relationship with God. It is exemplified in Paul’s words from Galatians 2:20: ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Let’s consider how we can relate the principle of constancy to that which defines who we really are: our own character.

Constancy as a Theme of Life

     We are thinking about a set of ideas under the heading of “constancy.” Last week in this space we considered constancy at home. Today we will consider constancy as a theme of life. This may seem a bit foreign but when you think about it, our individual lives do develop a theme as we go along. Some folks come to be known as calm, others as easily agitated. Some folks are helpers; others seem always to be needing help. Some hardly ever get into trouble while others cannot seem to stay out of it. Life gets to be thematic, perhaps whether we mean for it to or not.

The Value of Constancy At Home

     A theme appears in autobiographies of successful people: someone provided a sense of constancy for them while they were young. We know that this is the parents’ job but often things happen that keep the nuclear family from staying together. Most of the time the disruption is because one or both of the parents simply does not want to stay with the family. When this happens the children pay the price for these parental decisions. In the cases I have in mind someone provided the necessary constancy, perhaps a single parent, the grandparents or other family members.

The Plague of the Unformed Person

     When we see or read the word “plague” we think of the diseases that devastated Europe from the 6th to the 19th centuries. People who study such things estimate that the element of the plague known as the “Black Death” may have reduced the world’s population by as many as 100 million people. We pray that such a thing never happens again. But the one thing we know about the future is that we do not know it.

May I Speak To You?

     After Paul was arrested in the Temple (Acts 21) he sought an opportunity to speak to the mob that was set on killing him there and then. He had been saved from certain death by the commander of the Roman garrison stationed near the Temple and it was to him that Paul directed his first request, “May I speak to you?” After Paul explained to the commander that he was a Roman citizen he then made his second request: to speak to those who would’ve done him fatal harm.

But As For You

     Paul did not take it easy on the young men who served with him in the early days of the church. We know a little more about Timothy than we do Titus because of the references to Timothy in Acts and the fact that we have two letters to him from Paul. As for Titus there are eight verses in 2 Corinthians that mention him as well as Galatians 2:3 and 2 Timothy 4:10. Of course we have the letter to Titus which fits in the general context with 1 Timothy. 2 Timothy was written near the close of Paul’s life (4:6-8).

Spiritual Inventory

     Before I became a Christian and began working as a preacher I worked in two commercial activities: pharmacies and furniture stores. Both were retail operations and their success was based on customer satisfaction: people could always go somewhere else. My employers could usually tell how things were going based on their experience and how busy we were. But I learned that we really did not know how well we had done in a year until we did an inventory. This was a tedious task that had to be done in a narrow time frame.