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When I was thirteen, I worked part time in a local grocery store. Started out sweeping and stocking shelves, sacking groceries and carrying them out to the customer’s car. All that I enjoyed. It was a small town. Everyone knew everybody else. I carried groceries for most of my junior high teachers. It was fun. All that stopped in January of 1953. I was introduced to “inventory!”

I was told to start at one end of a long row of cans and count every one of them and write the number down on a form I was handed. I didn’t really understand what it was all for. And, then, I hit the spice shelves! All those tiny little cans! I reached back with my fat arm to count and knocked them off their unstable stacks! It was horrible! Counting them and trying to keep them stacked.

I’m still not a business man, but I do understand why, at the beginning of a new calendar year, you must see how much inventory in terms of dollars is on your shelves. I was so grateful I wasn’t working in a hardware store. All those nails and tiny screws! Argh!

Since we are just at the second Sunday of 2011, I thought we might do a little inventorying of our own. Not the stuff stacked on closet shelves in the educational space, but the “content of your character,” to quote the late Martin Luther King, Jr. What fruits, spiritual gifts, and talents do you have in the arsenal of your character?

The Bible is big on lists. We have long lists of fruits of the Spirit, spiritual gifts, bad habits, good habits, personality traits, and admirable things that Paul says in Philippians that we should meditate on regularly. We will briefly look at some of these lists just to give you a taste of what the Bible says we should cultivate or cull out.

Mostly, though, we will see the broad sweep of how a Christian should endeavor to cope with suffering, misfortune, tragedy, and sorrow. Read Romans 5:1-5 to get the picture. It will be a very private inventory. No one but you and God will know what’s stacked on the shelf in your heart.

See you soon! (I know of nine people who are planning to join Bayshore this Sunday. Yes, NINE!)