Weighing Your Options

download (1)In a post I made to this blog last week, I wrote about character and reputation.  I cited Romans 5, and I called your attention to a cause and effect link:  “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.”

Over the weekend I reflected again on the words of Paul, and I remembered a story that Billy Graham tells.  It’s a good illustration of how God can use the suffering you encounter in your life.

The incident occurred during the Great Depression, and Graham spoke of a friend who had lived a life of hardship.  The man had lost his job, his wife, his home, and his fortune.  This Christian could not comprehend the purpose of his suffering, but he didn’t let his trials shake his faith.

While walking by a church one day, he stopped to watch some masons as they worked.  One of the men was chiseling a triangle shaped piece of stone, and Graham’s friend asked him: “What are you doing?”  The workman replied:  “See that little opening near the top of the spire? I’m chiseling this stone down here, so it will fit in just right up there.”

As Graham’s friend walked down the street, his eyes filled with tears and he smiled.  He realized that God was using his suffering as a chisel down here, so some day he would fit in up there.

Paul said:  “For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

When your heart aches, I hope you will find some comfort in the promises of Psalm 27:1, 14: The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

I’ll close with this thought:  When you wait on the Lord, He lifts the weight of the world.

Building Character

“Because I gave him my word” was the answer to the question I had just asked.  The question was, “How does he know you will pay him?” It was an interesting conversation, and one that I’ve remembered for almost 50 years.

Even though the word “reputation”was not used, it was the subject of the discussion.  Pop finished the conversation with this statement:  “A man is only as good as his word.”

I posted a comment about reputation to my Facebook page yesterday:  People wouldn’t have to spend so many minutes protecting their reputation, if they would pause for 60 seconds to guard their character.

You can read the character-focused Scripture I’ve provided below in less than 60 seconds:

  • Proverbs 22:1:  “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1:  “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”
  • Hebrews 11:1-2:  “Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old.”

It was Helen Keller who said:  “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

The quote above reminds me of Romans 5:1-5:

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.  Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Do you see the cause and effect links in the verses above?  “Suffering produces endurance,  and endurance, character, and character, hope.”  

 

 


Character_Building (1)
I’m not sure that Paul would agree with Calvin’s dad, but you may have the opportunity to build some character with snow in the forecast for this weekend.