Well done Connie!
Connie? Who is Connie?
Well, some of us know Connie. Vicki and I know her from the church we belonged to before we were married, and not so long ago Connie had an anniversary at that church - and a special church lunch in her honour at that. Why? Because Connie had just completed 50 years as a Sunday School teacher at her church.
Quite an achievement!
So, are we putting Connie forward as an example for us all to follow - “That’s my goal folks, just another 47 years to go”? Or is she some kind of one-off dedication freak?
I remember mentioning a year or so ago how my uncle lived all his seventy-four years in the house he was born in, worshipped and served God in the same church all his life, worked for the same company all his life, and was married to the same woman - all his married life.
“What a boring existence” some would say. “Where’s the pioneering spirit?
Change is good for you.”
On the contrary, my uncle was a man of great vision who worked hard to bring change and see God’s Kingdom extended in his part of the country. St Paul said "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain" (1Corinthians 15:58).
You don't, of course, have to be a Sunday School teacher for 50 years, or be like my uncle, in order to fulfil this, but, in our present throw-away society, we need those with the ability to stick with it when the going gets tough, and whose faithfulness and loyalty can always be relied upon. These are Godly qualities that are particularly needed in the church. Some seem to have them but others have to work at it.
Faithfulness, however, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) and as such it is a quality God will want to see grow in our lives. For many of us, the ‘fruits’ of patience and faithfulness are in short supply and, when we hear of the Connies of this world and their amazing ability to stick with it, our response is to think that’s not me, I could never do that.
It’s for this reason that God has given us the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not so that we all teach in the same Sunday School for 50 years, but so that our weaknesses can be rectified and,
more importantly, we can become more and more like Jesus.
Our natural character has many deficiencies when it comes to matching the nature of Jesus and, whilst it is the goal of the Holy Spirit to change us into the likeness of Jesus, so often it is our old carnal nature that reigns supreme.
Whatever the nature of the quality that enabled Connie to achieve her record, the fact remains that the Holy Spirit wants to make good the deficiencies in our lives where His fruits are concerned. We need to respond to the Holy Spirit as He seeks to make us more like Jesus. We need to stop saying “I can’t” when the Holy Spirit says “I can”. We need to believe God’s Word when it says, for instance, that God’s love has been poured into our lives (see Romans 5:5), so that we can love that person we find it difficult to love, we can forgive that person we find it difficult to forgive...
...And, what about the fruit of faithfulness?
When Paul wrote to the church at
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