|Vol. 2, No. 5||Page 11||May 2000|
So Much To Think About,
Two previous articles introduced the ideas behind personalities and discussed two of four personality types. So far, the working choleric and the talking sanguine have been considered. For each personality type, biblical examples have been introduced and application made to current living.
The third group we need to examine contains the melancholies. These people are the thinkers. They are thoughtful, analytical and respectful. All the strengths listed here belong to someone who is not nearly as aggressive as the sanguine or choleric. This person is very sensitive to others. He loves to make plans and tries to make everything in his life perfect. These individuals are usually very creative.
This group has its weakness also. As the word melancholy suggests, this personality is very moody. Often sad or depressed one moment, the individual may be happy and content the next. The melancholies in life tend to be very pessimistic, critical and suspicious. They are also insecure people who do not easily make friends. However, when they do make friends, they make lasting friendships. Melancholies are usually hard to please and fussy over details.
A melancholy person is a self-sacrificing individual. He will be a loyal friend no matter what it costs him. This individual wants things done right or not at all and strives for perfection in all things. He needs order and sensitivity in his life above all else. If you encounter a perfectionist who is creative and moody, you have just met a melancholy person.
A melancholy personality tends to be persistent, a perfectionist, pessimistic, depressed and revengeful. What Bible figures come to mind regarding any of these traits? We will look at three: John the apostle, John the Baptist and Moses.
All three of these men proved to be self-sacrificing. In Matthew, we read of the conditions in which John the Baptist lived. He did not have a nice home and clothes and the best food. He lived in the wilderness, wore clothes of camel’s hair and ate locust and honey (3:1-4). He also lost his life because Herod and Herodias were displeased when he preached the truth (Matthew 14:1-11). Matthew also records the sacrifices made by the John who became an apostle. This man left his family and business in the middle of the day to follow Christ (4:21-22). The book of Exodus tells of the life of Moses. This Hebrew boy was raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter in a life of luxury. Yet, he relinquished all this to defend his people (Exodus 2:11-15). Moses later left his peaceful life in Midian to lead God’s people out of bondage in Egypt (Exodus 4:18-21). Like these three examples, we as Christians should be willing to give our time, money and anything else necessary in the service of the Lord.
Other characteristics of the melancholy are evident in the lives of these men. The apostle John was very intolerant and revengeful. Mark 9:38-39 tells of his forbidding someone to cast out devils because he did not follow Christ as he toured the country teaching.
“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me” (Mark 9:38-39).
Luke records the occasion when John wanted to call fire from heaven to consume those who would not receive Christ (9:51-56). Moses did not want to lead God’s people from Egypt. His excuses to God show that he was afraid and skeptical that anyone would follow him (Exodus 3:1-13). Later, when dealing with Pharaoh, Moses showed persistence by not giving up when Pharaoh refused to let God’s people leave (Exodus 5:1-12:51). He also persistently pleaded with God to give the people another chance as they continually regretted leaving Egypt and complained (Exodus 32:11-14, 31-32; Numbers 14:13-20). Moses also demonstrated the melancholy depression while he struggled to lead the rebellious children of Israel (Numbers 11:10-15).
“Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness” (Numbers 10-15).
These men are great examples of melancholies working for God. John the Baptist taught the truth knowing it would not be well received (Matthew 14:4). John the apostle was charged with the care of Jesus’ mother and learned the lesson of love and compassion (John 19:26; 1 John 3:14-18; 4:7-11). Moses is listed in that great “Bible Hall of Fame,” Hebrews Chapter 11. Even though his mistakes in the wilderness prevented him from entering Canaan, God allowed him to see the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-5) and counted him as a faithful servant.
Moses, John the Baptist and John the apostle, like the others we have studied thus far, allowed God to be in control of their lives. These men left us examples that we should follow. Do not neglect your duties as a Christian. Use the talents and strengths God gave you to serve him always.