My dear brother, weíve had such blessed times together in the Lord. Iím missing you but know that the Lord will keep us in Him in spirit. I respect your authority in the Lord and thatís why Iím writing.
When you left you gave me two tasks among the believers here: 1) to set in order those ministries of the Spirit that are lacking; and 2) to appoint elders in every city here in Crete. Certainly a challenging task, my brother, but one Iím happy to fulfil.
Iíve prayed to the Lord for wisdom and am in the process of making a short-list of those I consider suitable to the role of elders. Perhaps you could write with advice in this regard.
Some of the men are suitable but have distractions that may keep them from fully engaging their task. One man has a good heart and spirit but his three sons are causing considerable heartache in his family at present.
Another man, as is the custom of the minorities here, has 2 wives. Heís a believer but I canít reconcile his marital status with the scriptures. Heíd make a fine elder but for this problem, and heís not willing to give up either wife.
Another young man has been progressing very well in the faith except for a minor falling back a short time ago when he was accused of shoplifting. He says he just forgot to pay but has restored the amount to the shop and made amends.
Then there are a host of men who are very sincere in their faith but lapse in just one area. For example, one has quite mature understanding but is inclined to explode in anger at another who expresses differences about the faith. Quite a few of the brethren drink to excess. Some canít control their temper and, sadly, have lashed out and hit their wives and children. Some men spend their every waking thought devising plans to make more money.
One of the most serious problems I face (or perhaps itís common everywhere) is that of gossip. Why do human beings so freely like to talk about others in critical ways? Not only talk but you read about it in all the local papyrus rags. I guess it comes down to the pride in all of us. Truly our hearts are deceitful above all. I find Iím tempted to talk behind othersí backs too and always regret it later.