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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Character

"Ideal" is what you wish you were (fame is a vapor);
"Reputation" is what people say you are (popularity is an accident);
"Character" is what you are.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) told the story of a Muslim veiled prophet who was a great teacher and was considered to be a light among the people. He wore the veil, he said, because his countenance was so glorious none could bear the sight of his face. But, eventually the veil decayed and fell away revealing nothing hut an ugly old man. Stevenson stressed that, “however high the truths the preacher taught, and however skillfully he might excuse the blemishes of character, the time comes when the veil falls away, and a man is seen by people as he really is."

Think of what this means for those in ministry. Charles Spurgeon wrote in his "Lectures to My Students:"

"Traveling one day on a train from Perth to Edenburgh, on a sudden we came to a dead stop, because a very small screw in one of the engines had been broken, and when we started again we were obliged to crawl along witi one piston—rod at work instead of two. Only a small screw was gone. If that had been right the train would have rushed along its iron road, but the absense of that insignificant piece of iron disarranged the whole. The anology is perftct; a man in all other respects fitted to be useful, may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered, or even rendered utterly useless in the ministry."

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