We live in a results-oriented society. The only thing that matters is the bottom line! Or, in reality, the only thing is the bottom line. From politicians who occupy positions of authority to the CEO of the boardroom, value is measured by success. How that success was accomplished is of little import. How the bottom line was turned from red to black is inconsequential. “Nice guys finish last” and “the good die young,” is the snarling retort of the cynic.
But the Word of God, thankfully, continues to call us back to realize that what a man is, is far more important than what he does. Character counts! The Lord’s first public discourse dealt with character and not service. We call it the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). His three years of molding His disciples was not so much with a view to the success of a mission, as to the transforming of character.
The articles which are contained in this issue remind us of this vital concept. Leadership, as highlighted in two articles within, is based on character, not charisma. Albert Hull’s article on great women reminds us that it is in the crucible of suffering and trial that God develops some of the most outstanding character traits in His own. The cost for the knowledge of God and likeness to Christ is great, but the value is inestimable.
The article from the pen of our dear brother, Jim Flanigan, draws our thoughts to the divine estimation of character: the silence of a Lazarus, the service of a Martha, and the surrender of a Mary all sprang from deep devotion to His Person. As we look, however, at the lessons learned from the continuing series on Isaiah 53 by our brother Williams, we are reminded that what God esteems, men despise. The most flawless and fruitful character ever to be witnessed upon earth was “despised and rejected of men.” He was marked by the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), each resident in Him in its fullness, and each displayed at the appropriate time as “fruit in season.”
Character counts! It is the matrix in which gift is used to its maximal potential and blessing. It is vital for assembly preservation and for the furtherance of testimony. Assembly elders search for it in those whom God is raising up. Men in places of responsibility seek for it in those whom they would lay hands on for the work of God.
The combination of character and gift in a person is good reason to place confidence in that individual. In keeping with this principle, the staff of Truth and Tidings has invited Marvin Derksen and John Dennison to join the staff and share with us in the responsibilities of publishing the magazine. Both have graciously agreed to assist us. Each of them has been a valued contributor in the past and will continue to assist in this capacity as well as in other responsibilities. We ask for your continued prayerful support of the magazine in its work.