You and I can pick apart anyone who acts inconsistently with his or her talk.

I'm inspired by the Christian who lives consistently with what he or she believes. Here is a story that affirms the wisdom of the Book of James, ' … Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.'

Robert Carter III was born in 1728 to a wealthy family in Virginia. His father died early in Carter's life. The boy's grandfather, 'King Carter,' raised him. King Carter owned virtually the entire 'Northern neck' of Virginia between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers.

Robert Carter III inherited some of this estate and made good use of it. He went to school in England. Returning in 1751, he married Frances Ann Tasker of Baltimore and had 17 children. In the meantime Robert Carter III also: Was appointed to the governor's council at age 28; Built 16 vast plantations which stretched from the Chesapeake Bay to the northern Shenandoah Valley; Owned a fleet of ships which helped him trade around the world; Had banking interests and owned land companies.

Robert Carter III had a great life! By his own admission however, he lacked one thing. He lived through and supported the American Revolution against England.

In this time he took all the talk about liberty and freedom seriously. He was a religious man who at one time or another joined the Anglican Church, a Baptist Church and was for a while, a Deist.

Carter's religion was not a 'personal' one. By the 1780's he realized that owning slaves as he did, was wrong. By 1791, Robert Carter III, at the height of his economic and political influence, decided to free his 500 slaves (worth about $100, 000 at that time).

On Aug. 1 of that year, Carter began a yearly process of manumitting the oldest portion of his slaves, helping them rent established farms and legally documenting their manumitted status.

Virginia law discouraged it. Carter's neighbors disliked it. Carter's in-laws disdained it. Nonetheless, Robert Carter III acted upon his religious belief that all people should be free. It would begin with him.

At his death, George Washington owned more than 300 slaves. At his death, Thomas Jefferson owned more than 250 slaves. Robert Carter III died on March 11, 1804. He owned 0 slaves.

' … Be doers of the word, and not hearers only… .'

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